Alleged drug lord sheltered Cabanas’ assailant

An alleged drug lord being held by Mexican authorities says that

for three months he hid the fugitive wanted in the shooting seven

months ago of Paraguay footballer Salvador Cabanas.

Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as ”La Barbie,” said in a

transcript released by authorities that he sheltered Jose Jorge

Balderas, who is the prime suspect in the shooting of Cabanas on

Jan. 25 at a bar in Mexico City. Balderas remains at large.

Born in the border city of Laredo, Texas, Valdez was captured

Monday and authorities say he is responsible for dozens of murders

and drug-related violence.

Valdez said he scolded Balderas – one of his henchmen – over the

shooting.

”They were friends those two,” Valdez said. ”But that day

Cabanas was in a bad mood and they started to argue.”

Valdez said he hid Balderas on the outskirts of Mexico City. He

said he did not know the current whereabouts of Balderas.

Valdez, who got his improbable nickname from his fair

complexion, is wanted in the United States for allegedly smuggling

tons of cocaine. In Mexico, he 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.

Cabanas survived the point-blank shooting in the head and still

has a small bullet fragment lodged in his skull. Surgeons said at

the time it was too dangerous to try to remove it.

Cabanas has been recovering in a Buenos Aires rehabilitation

center and has regained much of his mobility. He played for Mexico

club America and was to have starred in Paraguay’s 2010 World Cup

team in South Africa.

He has no memory of the shooting and told a judge last month

that he does not know why he was attacked. Witnesses have said

Cabanas and Balderas got into an argument when Balderas questioned

the Paraguayan’s performances for his club.