The American High School Football Star Who Became a Drug Lord

Moms and dads, you might be disappointed with how your kids turned out. But always remember it's not as bad as it could be. Edgar Valdez Villarreal went from a high school football star in Texas to Mexican drug lord.

Valdez, who is 37 and sports the incongruous nickname "La Barbie," has played an outsized role in the atrocious drug violence in Mexico, running the private army for the Beltran-Leyva gang as it battled the Gulf cartel. Before he was captured, he smuggled a ton of cocaine a month and he's been linked to the massacre of the family of a Mexican marine.

But before that, he was a relatively normal American high school student, a linebacker at United High School in Laredo, Texas, according to the Times. His dad was a shop owner who "emphasized church, hard work and the value of a college education." Then he was arrested for some small crimes in the 90s—drunk driving, pot dealing—fled to Mexico, did a bunch of terrible drug lord stuff, and was arrested late last month after a fierce gun battle.

But his family is still sticking by him: "I'm not saying he's an angel," his brother told the Times. "He's done things that are not legally right, but he has principles."