cell leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel was arraigned in federal court
today following his self-surrender to U.S. law enforcement authorities
at the Calexico West Port of Entry in California, on July 27.
Damaso Lopez-Serrano, aka Mini Lic, 29, is believed to be the
highest-ranking Mexican cartel leader ever to self-surrender in the
U.S. Lopez-Serrano was arraigned on an indictment returned by a federal
grand jury in San Diego on Aug. 19, 2016, charging him and five of his
close associates, including Nahum Sicairos-Montalvo, aka Kinceanero,
with Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances Intended for
Importation and Conspiracy to Import Controlled Substances. U.S.
District Court Judge Dana M. Sabraw arraigned Lopez-Serrano on these
charges and unsealed the indictment against these two defendants.
The announcement was made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Acting
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s
Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson for the Southern
District of California and Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman
of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s San Diego Field Office.
The U.S. also announced today the unsealing of an additional
indictment returned Dec. 14, 2016, in the Eastern District of Virginia
by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and
the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section charging
father and son, Damaso Lopez Nunez and Damaso Lopez Serrano,
respectively, with Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances
Intended for Importation. Damaso Lopez Nunez was arrested by Mexican
authorities on May 2, and the U.S. is in the process of seeking his
extradition on the December 14 indictment. Lopez Serrano will be
arraigned on this indictment at a future date.
“At a time when more Americans than ever are dying from drug
overdoses, the Department of Justice has made it a top priority to
target the Mexican Cartel leaders responsible for the dangerous drugs
that poison our families,” said Attorney General Sessions. “We will
continue to go after these cartel leaders in order to dismantle their
organizations from top to bottom, and today’s announcement should send
them a clear message: you can turn yourselves in the easy way, or we
will find you and bring you to justice the hard way. No matter what,
you will face the consequences.”
The Southern District of California indictment unsealed today marks
the conclusion of the fourth phase of a five-year OCDETF investigation
Operation Narco Polo that, in total, has resulted in charges against
over 125 people and has had a significant impact on the worldwide
operations of the Sinaloa Cartel.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the
defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a