Drug suspect goes on hunger strike

Oct. 14, 2011 at 4:37 PM
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MEXICO CITY, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Suspected drug kingpin Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as "La Barbie" for his good looks, has gone on a hunger strike, Mexican prison officials said.

The American-born Villarreal, accused of leading one of the most powerful drug cartels in the Western Hemisphere, has refused to eat prison-prepared food since Oct. 2 because he has been denied conjugal visits with his partner, prison officials told the Los Angeles Times.

Villarreal, 38, is still receiving food that inmates are allowed to buy inside Altiplano prison, where he is awaiting extradition.

A spokeswoman said Villarreal began the hunger strike after his petition for a conjugal visit with an unnamed woman was delayed because her documents list three different birthplaces -- Acapulco, Nuevo Laredo in Mexico an Laredo, Texas.

The prison spokeswoman said they need to determine where she was born before she will be allowed into the prison, the newspaper said.

Villarreal, who played high school football in Laredo, Texas, was arrested in August 2010 and accused of running a violent arm of the Beltran-Leyva cartel.

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