Prosecutors from Atlanta to Mexico City want a crack at the light-haired, green-eyed Texan who reputedly climbed the ranks of a major Mexican drug cartel and directed soldiers in an endless drug war of beheadings and mass slaughters. Locked in one of Mexico's maximum-security prisons, Laredo-born Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez Villarreal has something everyone now wants: secrets. "The United States continues to seek extradition of Mr. Valdez to face the existing charges here, and we would welcome the opportunity to bring him to court here," said John Horn, an assistant U.S. attorney in Atlanta. In just the last week, however, Valdez, 38, was implicated along with four retired and active high-ranking Mexican military officers, including three generals and a lieutenant colonel, accused of corruption and protecting cartel traffickers and their loads. If Valdez is the gangster authorities say he is, he knows plenty about drugs, cash and weapons moving across the border, as well as which law enforcement officers and political leaders may be on cartel payrolls. "He is in the middle of everything," said Mike Vigil, a retired chief of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
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