So La Barbie is not only smirking, he's talking a fair bit. Apparently he met with Chapo, El Mayo, El Azul, Nacho Coronel, Arturo Beltran Leyva, El Lazca and a couple of other big shots late last year to discuss the violence and the possibility of a pact.
Most of what La Barbie is saying is probably minor fare and a bit of a diversion: he had cocaine contacts in Colombia, he didn't work for anybody, etc etc -- he's not going to say anything publicly that will incriminate anyone or dig his hole deeper.
But the meeting is quite interesting, as is the revelation that he suggested Arturo turn himself in. There would be no sense in Arturo turning himself in, as he well knew when he tried to shoot his way out of a Cuernavaca apartment in the face of a couple hundred marines. He would either face life in a Mexican prison or death. And Chapo was at the meeting, eh? Well I guess those claims made by counter-drug officials that Chapo can't move around outside of Sinaloa very easily these days are kinda unfounded.
La Barbie, on the other hand, appears to have been thinking of turning himself in, and may well have done so. As Michel Marizco notes on his blog borderreporter.com, La Barbie had everyone on his ass, from the Sinaloans to Los Zetas, and his smile makes sense if you consider he may have cut a nice deal -- get deported to the US (not extradited, as Marizco notes) and face drug trafficking charges rather than murder in Mexico.
Other capos have tried to cut deals in the past -- Amado Carrillo Fuentes apparently desperately wanted to give up his crazy life for the six months or so before he died during a botched plastic surgery, for instance. But La Barbie cutting a deal is interesting. OK, so he's a Mexican-American, so he can go home now and serve his time and not particularly worry about the crazy heat he would face in Mexico for the rest of his life. I think he may have realized that he was in over his head, operating alone for the first time rather than having the backing of Chapo and the Beltran Leyvas. In the Mexican underworld, after all, he's a tourist, and always would be. In addition, he's young. He's lived like a king for some time in Mexico, effectively doing what a lot of gringos used to do in the 60s and 70s (except for the killing part) and basically living life in the fast lane. He can now do his time, get out and still eke out a living for the rest of his life. He might even just be smiling like some people do after they've had one hell of a run and finally get caught. It's kind of psychopathic, but i've seen that look on far more normal people's faces when they broke rules and finally had to own up to it (Bill Clinton springs to mind). What would he have become if he'd stayed in Laredo? Just another washed-up former high school football star working in the local gas station? I think he knows the jig is up, but the hell if he's going to hang his head in shame like most of the Mexican footsoldiers do. He always knew what he was doing was illegal, why would he be ashamed now?
Last but not least, the ranch where La Barbie was caught is mighty impressive. Take a look at the picture of the meeting room on El Universal's web site (link to the pics in title of the post) and imagine the top capos of Mexico sitting around that table discussing business. the most powerful boardroom in the country, without a doubt.