For the second time this summer, the State Department may have gotten a bite on the bait it sets out in the Narcotics Reward Program.
Assistant Secretary Philip J. Crowley took a question during today's daily press briefing about yesterday's capture of a major Mexican narco figure:
QUESTION: On Mexico, can I ask, Mexican federal police have captured one of the most violent criminals in Mexico, Edgar Valdez-Villarreal. I would like to know, what do you think can be the impact of this capture in the drug war conducted by the Mexican Government? And how the U.S. agencies have supported Mexico with intelligence?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, first of all, we congratulate Mexican authorities on the arrest of “La Barbie.” We are in touch – obviously, we are in touch with the Mexican Government. We are working collaboratively with the Mexican Government. The investigation will continue. But this is part of the partnership that we have developed with Mexico, and we’re grateful for the aggressive action and commitment by Mexico. And our assistance has helped to expand the capacity of the Mexican Government to take these kinds of actions.
QUESTION: I understand the State Department offered $2 million reward for his capture.
QUESTION: I understand the State Department have offered $2 million rewards for his (inaudible) – for his capture.
MR. CROWLEY: I’ll take that question. I’m not – it is quite likely. I just don’t have that information in front of me.
After checking, Mr. Crowley confirmed that the answer to that question is yes:
Edgar Valdez Villarreal was listed as a target of the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Narcotics Rewards Program with a reward offer of up to $2 million.
Of course, there is no way of telling whether Mexican authorities captured "La Barbie" after a confederate turned him in for two million gringo dollars, or whether it was just good police work. Riiiight. Ken, don't spend it all in one place.