Sinaloa Cartel boss Dámaso “El Licenciado” López Núñez was extradited early this morning from the border city of Ciudad Juárez to the United States.
López, 50, whose nickname means “The Graduate,” faces charges of conspiring to distribute cocaine and commit money laundering and could face life imprisonment if convicted.
Acting Attorney General Alberto Elías Beltrán told a press conference that López is potentially a key witness against Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, who is facing a trial in September in New York state.
“This extradition is fundamental for Mexican and United States authorities due to the testimonial contribution it might have regarding Joaquín Guzmán Loera, and represents a watershed in the cooperation between both countries, especially in the exchange of information,” said Elías.
He added that López’s criminal proceedings in Mexico will be suspended, pending a resolution of his legal status in the United States.
López was employed as the internal security director of the Puente Grande penitentiary in Jalisco between 1999 and 2000. One year later, it is believed, he was a key player in Guzmán’s escape from that prison.
After the prison break, he joined the Sinaloa Cartel and soon started rising in its command structure, becoming Guzmán’s second-in-command.
After Guzmán was re-arrested in 2014 he is believed to have passed his leadership responsibilities on to López, who has been identified by United States authorities as having “a significant role in international narcotics trafficking.”
His son, Dámaso “El Mini Lic” López Serrano, was arrested in Mexicali last July and pleaded guilty to drug smuggling charges in January in San Diego, California.
Source: Milenio (sp)