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Edgar Valdez Villareal, aka "La Barbie," is presented at Federal Police headquarters in Mexico City. (AFP/Getty Images)

Mexican Police Display Drug Kingpin 'La Barbie'

Aug 31, 2010

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In the U.S., when the police want to display a suspect for journalists and the wider public, they commonly do a "perp walk," showing off the alleged perpetrator as they walk him to the vehicle transporting him to and from jail.

In Mexico, like many other places in the world, police and prosecutors put the captured alleged bad guy on display in a set piece that often features masked police officers or members of the military who in a show of force flank the now hapless and powerless suspect.

On Tuesday it was the turn of the alleged narcotics trafficker and gang leader Edgar Valdez Villarreal, 37, who was born and raised in the U.S. but decided to make his fortune, ill-gotten according to authorities, in Mexico. Actually, though he lived in Mexico, much of his fortune came from the U.S. where the drugs his gang trafficked were sold.

Known as "La Barbie" or the Barbie doll because of his blue eyes and fair skin, he has a reputation for ruthlessness, alleged to be responsible for many executions and beheadings. The U.S. had placed a $2 million bounty on his capture, as did Mexico.

While La Barbie is now in custody, we've seen this movie before. His arrest has clearly left an opening for others to become the new kingpins.

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