August 30, 2010 - The Mexican Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) confirmed that members of the Federal Police detained former Beltran Leyva Organization top enforcer, Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal. Several Mexican media outlets have reported that the operation that netted Valdez Villarreal took place outside of Toluca, Mexico state, while others have reported that the operation actually took place near the Morelos and Guerrero state borders. Federal Police had reportedly launched an operation to capture Valdez Villarreal on Aug. 9 at a luxury condominium complex in the Bosque de Las Lomas neighborhood of Mexico City but missed him by a few hours, indicating that the Mexican government was close to capturing him for some time before his arrest. The arrest of such high-profile and public figure in the Mexican drug-trafficking scene is a huge success for the Mexican government on both a tactical and public relations level.
Valdez Villarreal has been locked in heated battle with his former colleague, Hector “El H” Beltran Leyva, for control over the territory once occupied by the Beltran Leyva Organization under now-deceased leader Arturo Beltran Leyva. Hector has since gone on to form Cartel Pacifico Sur (CPS) and has been waging war against the former BLO elements loyal to Valdez Villarreal. The arrest of Valdez Villarreal is a tremendous blow to the leadership of his faction of the BLO, and it is unclear at this point who if anyone will take the place of Valdez Villarreal. Additionally, the detention of Valdez Villarreal also will provide Mexican authorities with a treasure trove of timely, actionable tactical intelligence about his organization’s operations, which could lead to more arrests in the near future. Furthermore, should Valdez Villarreal choose to cooperate with Mexican authorities, he could provide an enormous amount of information about rival organizations as well.
The arrest of Valdez Villarreal also comes at a time when President Felipe Calderon’s war against the cartels has been drawing some negative attention due to the high levels of violence and a recent, ominous escalation in tactics over the past week with increased use of improvised explosive devices. Valdez Villarreal was well known for his ruthlessness and brutality in dealing with his rivals, and his arrest will be a public relations coup for the Mexican government even though it will do little to quell the violence in places like Juarez and Monterrey.
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