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Mexican Cartel hitman, torture chief disappears from U.S. custody

Mexican president expresses bafflement at prisoner's missing status.

Published: December 8, 2022 10:34am

Updated: December 8, 2022 10:52am

A notorious Mexican Cartel hitman has apparently vanished from federal custody, leaving even the Mexican president confused as to the whereabouts of one of the drug syndicate's most fearsome enforcers. 

The federal Bureau of Prison's inmate search lists Edgar Valdez-Villareal's projected year of release as 2056, yet his federal listing also classifies him as "not in BOP custody."

The website does not offer any explanation as to why the Cartel criminal would have been released from custody. Valdez-Villareal was arrested by Mexican federal police in 2010 and was subsequently extradited to the U.S. and sentenced to serve his decades-long term at USP Coleman in Sumter County, Fla. 

When asked last week about Valdez-Villareal's absence in the BOP system, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador himself expressed confusion. 

It’s very strange what is going on in the United States with Mr. Villareal, who is no longer registered among those in custody, and we want to know where he is," Obrador told reporters at a press conference.

"There is no reason for him to leave prison because he was condemned to many years unless there was some kind of an agreement," he said. 

A spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons, meanwhile, told the New York Post the bureau "[does] not provide specific information on the status of inmates who are not in the custody of the BOP for safety, security or privacy reasons."

The spokesman told the Post that inmates can be listed as "not in BOP custody" for "many reasons," including if they are "temporarily removed from the site if they are undergoing court hearings, medical treatments," or for "other reasons."

Valdez-Villareal was known among Cartel enforcers for his brutal torture and killing tactics, many of which he videotaped.

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