Mexico extradited a top lieutenant of the Sinaloa Cartel who masterminded one of the escapes of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The man is expected to be a key witness in El Chapo’s upcoming trial.
At 5 a.m., Mexican federal agents took Damaso “El Licenciado” Lopez Nuñez from the federal prison in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, to the airport in that city where he was turned over to the U.S. Marshals and other federal agencies as part of his extradition. Lopez is facing multiple drug trafficking and money laundering charges on two separate cases in the Eastern District of Virginia.
During a news conference in Mexico City, Elias Beltran, Deputy Attorney General in Mexico (PGR) for International Affairs, said “Damaso L” is likely a key witness in the upcoming trial against Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera in September. Beltran said any pending cases that Lopez is facing in Mexico will be suspended until his legal matters in the U.S. are resolved. The official said they were working closely with U.S. authorities to share information that could potentially solve open cases in Mexico.
Mexican authorities arrested Lopez in May 2017 at a ritzy neighborhood in Mexico City, Breitbart Texas reported at the time. The man was an attorney and a prison warden before turning to a life of crime. In 2001, Lopez was the warden at the Puente Grande prison when Mexican authorities moved top Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman there. The man known as “El Licenciado” is believed to have masterminded the brazen escape by El Chapo–who allegedly used a laundry cart to escape the facility.
After the escape, Lopez became a close friend of El Chapo and the godfather to his son Damaso “El Mini Lic.” Lopez Serrano. Through his friendship, Damaso climbed his way to the top leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel and after El Chapo’s capture, tried to take control from his family. The power struggle set off a series of fierce armed struggles throughout Mexico. After Lopez’s arrest, his son Damaso Lopez Serrano turned himself in to U.S. authorities, Breitbart Texas reported at the time; he has since pleaded guilty to various drug trafficking charges and is a likely witness in any upcoming Sinaloa Cartel trial.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tony Aranda contributed to this report.