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Texas-born fugitive Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias “the Barbie,” is the third major suspected drug lord to fall in Mexico in the past 10 months and a coup for President Felipe Calderon in his embattled war on powerful cartels.

Valdez, who got his improbable nickname from his fair complexion, is wanted in the United States for allegedly smuggling tons of cocaine and inside Mexico is blamed for a brutal turf war that has included bodies hung from bridges, decapitations and shootouts as he and a rival fought for control of the divided Beltran Leyva cartel.

Calderon called Valdez “one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and abroad” in a Tweet. He vowed that operations to bring down the rest of his gang will continue following his arrest Monday in Mexico State, an area that borders Mexico City.

The arrest was the culmination of a yearlong intelligence operation, the Public Safety Department said in a statement.
The statement offered no other details, but included a photograph of Valdez sporting stubble as he kneels on the ground, a police officer’s hand on his shoulder.

Valdez was charged in May in U.S. District Court in Atlanta with distributing thousands of pounds of cocaine from Mexico to the eastern U.S. from 2004 to 2006.

Source: Alexandra Olson for AP News.

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Texas-born fugitive Edgar Valdez Villarreal, alias "the Barbie," is the third major suspected drug lord…