The American who became a drug lord in Mexico, a murderous, ruthless smuggler known as "La Barbie" because of his light complexion, blondish hair and green eyes, faced an American court in Atlanta on Wednesday.
Edgar Valdez Villareal, born in Texas and nicknamed La Barbie by his high school football coach, used submarines, aircraft and more prosaic means of transportation to smuggle truckload upon truckload of cocaine from Mexico to metro Atlanta until his arrest in 2010. He sent competitors messages with videos of beheadings and armed his men with military hardware: rocket-propelled grenades, high-caliber automatic weapons, night-vision goggles and more.
He became almost a cult figure in Mexico, as many of the top narcos do, and consorted with some of the most powerful and notorious men in the drug trade there.
On Wednesday, La Barbie stood before a federal judge in Atlanta and pleaded guilty to three counts. He will be sentenced later and is facing life in prison without parole.