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Sinaloa Cartel boss Damaso Lopez Nunez could be extradited to the United States

May 3, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Sinaloa Cartel boss Damaso Lopez Nunez could be extradited to the United States Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman and his successor Damaso Lopez Nunez

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Mexican authorities have dealt a significant blow to the Sinaloa cartel with the capture of Damaso Lopez Núnez the presumed successor to Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, during an operation in Mexico City, which also resulted in the arrest of a key lieutenant.

Lopez Nunez, aka ‘El Licenciado’ is the head of a powerful Sinaloa Cartel faction known as Los Damaso.

Omar Hamid García Harfuch, the Director of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC), said at a press conference on Monday that the capture of the drug lord occurred in the Mexican capital.

Harfuch stated that López was arrested during a search carried out in a luxury building in the upscale neighborhood of Anzures.

The official indicated that during the operation authorities confiscated records, along with three packages and 22 alleged wrappings containing methamphetamine, several cell phones, three small arms, and two laptops, El Debate reported.

Mexican drug lord ‘El Licenciado’ was arrested Tuesday in an upscale Mexico City neighborhood

“Damaso Lopez Núnez is considered as one of the leading operators of narcotics trafficking and generators of violence in the state of Sinaloa and south of the Peninsula in Baja California,” Harfuch said.

“The capture, a result of the intelligence work by the Defense Ministry and the AIC, was carried out ‘without violence or third parties,'” said García Harfuch.

In a simultaneous operation conducted west of the capital, authorities also secured the capture of Victor Giovanni González, alias ‘El Chómpiras.’

Mexican officials have identified González as a logistical and financial operator in Mexico City, who is “part of the inner circle of Dámaso Lopez.”

Gonzalez was also in charge of renting properties used for the protection of his boss and paid members of the criminal cell of the cartel in this city, Garcia Harfuch added.

The head of the AIC said on Monday that Lopez Nunez faces a provisional arrest warrant for extradition to the United States for a drug trafficking and money laundering indictment out of the Northern District Court of Virginia.

Alonso Israel Lira Salas, the director of the Mexican Attorney General’s organized crime investigations unit (SEIDO), confirmed that the U.S. government had already submitted a formal request for the extradition of Damaso Lopez.

In 2013, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned ‘El Licenciado’ as a designated drug “kingpin.”

Lopez, the son of the former Attorney General of Culiacan and himself a former law enforcement official was considered Guzman’s right-hand man.

Mexican authorities released the first images of Damaso Lopez Nunez since his arrest

The two struck up a bond while Damaso Lopez Nunez was the director of security at the Puente Grande Prison in Jalisco before helping Guzman escape in 2001.

However, after ‘El Chapo’s’ capture in January 2016 in Los Mochis, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, Lopez-Nunez entered into a dispute with Jesus Alfredo and Ivan Archivaldo Guzman, the sons of Chapo, for the control of the cartel.

The rivalry between these two factions of the Sinaloa cartel became visible in recent months following Guzman’s extradition to the U.S, which correlated in a surge of violence prompting the homicide rate in Mexico to skyrocket in the first quarter of 2017.

Last August, an armed group from a rival drug cartel kidnapped several people in a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, among them the sons of ‘El Chapo’ Jesús Alfredo and Iván Archivaldo Guzman Salazar, who were later released after intervention by Ismael ‘El Mayo’ Zambada, the historical leader of this powerful cartel.

Recent reports indicate that Damaso Lopez allied with Alfredo Beltran Guzman, the son of drug kingpin Alfredo Beltran Leyva, who was recently sentenced to life in a U.S.prison, orchestrated the kidnapping of Guzman’s sons.

In February, Jesús Alfredo and Iván Archivaldo announced in a letter released to the public that they were wounded in an attack back in February ordered by Damaso Lopez Nunez during a meeting in which they were allegedly accompanied by Zambada.

Ivan Archivaldo and Jesus Alfredo Guzman-Salazar, the sons of ‘El Chapo’

That internal strife has caused more than 500 deaths in Sinaloa so far this year and, according to experts consulted by the EFE News Agency, violence may intensify after the arrest of Lopez.

“Additionally the capture diminishes the possibility of an alliance that ‘El Licenciado’ sought to generate with another organized group that operates in different states of the country,” he said.

According to Jesús Lemus, an expert on the Mexican drug trade, an alliance was in the midst of formulating between the Los Damaso faction of the Sinaloa Cartel and the New Generation Jalisco Cartel (CJNG).

Lemus maintains that Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias ‘El Mencho,’ leader of the CJNG had lent Damaso Lopez Nunez “financial and logistical” support.

Damaso Lopez Serrano, ‘El Mini Lic’ son of Damaso Lopez Nuñez

Moreover, Lemus added that leadership of the Sinaloa cartel faction controlled by ‘El Licenciado’ would probably pass to his son Damaso Lopez Serrano, alias ‘El Mini Lic,’ which in all likelihood would intensify the violence in the region.

López-Serrano, the purported godson of ‘Chapo Guzman,’ is a flamboyant narco-junior who maintains a heavy presence on social media, often described as undisciplined and temperamental.

A report by organized crime expert David Gagne and senior editor at the research foundation Insight Crime, suggests that in addition to the deep divisions within the criminal organization, the capture of Damaso Lopez Nunez further weakens the Sinaloa Cartel, leaving only Zambada as the last remaining leader from the group’s old-guard.

Intelligence sources indicate “Zambada is reportedly sick and likely could be out of the picture, leaving the organization in the hands of a new generation that has not yet proven it can navigate Mexico’s criminal landscape with the same deftness as its predecessors,” Gagne wrote.

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