Marcos Arturo Beltran Leyva, “jefe de jefe” of the Beltran Leyva cartel was betrayed by his chief lieutenant–Edgar Villareal Valdez, “el Barbie” who was head of the cartel’s enforcement/security division according to testimony from Beltran Leyva’s chef and others arrested at the condo last Wednesday and investigators from Mexican security.
Read Ricardo Ravelo’s piece this morning en espanol at Proceso.–Ravelo is one of Mexico’s best informed organized crime reporters.
About 3PM last Wednesday in Apt 201 of a residential tower in the upscale Lomas de Selva neighborhood of Cuernavaca, the chef was preparing dinner for his boss, Senor Arturo Beltran Leyva who was in the living room with five of his lieutenants, including his chief of security and enforcement, Edgard Valdez Villareal–el Barbie.
The chef, who was arrested following the military raid on his boss, told agents that Senor Arturo was getting reports of “strange movements” out in the street, but the cartel chief dismissed them, saying his men would take care of it and returned to his meeting with Valdez and his entourage.
The six men were preparing for a business meeting with Don Arturo’s expected dinner guests: Gen. Leopoldo Diaz Perez, commander of Zona Militar 24 (state of Morelos), along with two other Mexican army officers–a captain and a major.
Outside the apartment Mexican marines were crawling all over the perimeter. They dad been quietly evacuating the nearby buildings and apartments since noon. At 5pm they struck–200 strong– from the ground and by air.
At around 9PM, alone with no bodyguards remaining, Arturo ‘La Muerte’ Beltran opened the front door of his condo and met a fusilade of armor-piercing 5.59 rounds to the chest, abdomen and head. He collapsed dead in the doorway. Whereupon the marines and other military personnel did “a number” on Don Arturo as seen here and in the photo below which shows what appears to be a postmortem bayonet or large knife wound to the left side of the chest.
(These and other pictures taken at the scene have become an Abu Ghraib-moment for the Calderon administration and the military. Interior Secretary Fernando Gomez Mont had to call a press conference to say that “the Mexican government fulfills its duty to stop criminal organizations and their leaders, but without personal abuse or scandalous and frivolous attitudes” and that an investigation was under “to find the person or persons responsible for capturing these images and disseminating them. “–((emphasis added)) He assured reporters that the federal agents who participated in the operation were not responsible.
Then who is the guy in this picture wearing the balaclava and BDUs?)
By this time Beltran Leyva security jefe El Barbie Valdez was long since gone, disappearing “somehow” before the marines came rappelling down the side of the building and hasn’t been seen since. Gen. Diaz and his men were stopped on the way to their meeting with Don Arturo and were immediately disarmed, arrested and blindfolded before being driven off to some unnamed detention facility
With the release of this information, Valdes has almost zero chance of heading the cartel–and may be just a dead man walking. He is either hidden somewhere by Mexican security–military or PGR, or has returned into the arms of Chapo Guzman and the Sinaloa cartel. Or, considering the acknowledgement by Mexican officials that US intelligence was key to the operation on Wednesday that ended with Arturo Beltran’s death, el Barbie may have found refuge with the gringos. If not, Valdez better have some very convincing bullshit to throw the next time he meets one of the surviving Beltran brothers.
This news today suggests that the leadership of the BL cartel will fall to Arturo’s brother Hector who is the org’s financial chief. And unless Arturo’s killing resulted from some fraternal intrigues, brother Carlos will be at Hector’s side.
The only clear-cut big winner out of the spectacular bloodbath in Cuernavaca–at least in the near term– appears to be Shorty Guzman.