Mexican authorities extradited Sinaloa Cartel leader Damaso Lopez
Nuñez, also known as “El Licenciado,” to the United States to face drug
trafficking charges filed in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice
Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for
the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant Director Robert Johnson of
the FBI Headquarters Criminal Investigative Division, Assistant Director
in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI Washington Field Office and Acting
Special Agent in Charge Scott W. Hoernke of the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA), Washington Division Office made the announcement.
Lopez Nuñez, 52, arrived in the United States this afternoon and will
make an initial appearance on Monday, July 9, before U.S. Magistrate
Michael S. Nachmanoff in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. The
case is assigned to U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.
Lopez Nuñez is charged in a one-count indictment alleging that
between 2003 and December 2016, Lopez Nuñez conspired with others to
distribute significant quantities of narcotics for illegal importation
into the United States.
“Until his capture, Damaso Lopez Nuñez allegedly participated in a
multi-year conspiracy to distribute large amounts of cocaine, intending
that the drugs be imported to the United States,” said Acting Assistant
Attorney General Cronan. “Lopez Nuñez’s arrest and extradition
demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our partners in
Mexico to the pursuit of drug traffickers who seek to flood our streets
with addictive and deadly poisons, for their own illicit gain.”
“This successful extradition of a high-level target is a reflection
of years of collaboration and cooperation by multiple Department of
Justice units and our law enforcement partners who are all committed to
combatting transnational criminal organizations,” said U.S. Attorney
Terwilliger. “With thanks to the authorities in Mexico for their
efforts in facilitating this extradition so the defendant can be held
accountable and face justice for his alleged crimes.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and the DEA, in cooperation with
Mexican and Colombian law enforcement authorities. Substantial
assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern
District of California. The Department of Justice’s Office of
International Affairs provided significant assistance in bringing Lopez
Nuñez to the United States. The U.S. Marshals Service provided critical
assistance in the location and capture of Lopez Nuñez and assisted in
The U.S. Department of Justice thanks the Government of Mexico for its assistance in this case.
This case is also the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized
Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), a partnership that brings
together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state,
and local enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF
program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high-level
members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering
organizations and enterprises.
Deputy Chief Amanda Liskamm, Assistant Deputy Chief Michael Lang, and
Trial Attorney Cole Radovich of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and
Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS) and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel J.
Grooms and James L. Trump of the Eastern District of Virginia are
prosecuting the case.