World Bulletin / News Desk
Damaso Lopez, the right-hand man of jailed Mexican cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was extradited Friday to the U.S.
“Early on Friday morning, Damaso Lopez was handed over to U.S. authorities in [the border city of] Ciudad Juarez for extradition,” Mexico’s attorney general’s office said in a press release.
According to Deputy Attorney General Alberto Elias Beltran, Lopez, also known as “El Licenciado” – a title for college graduates – is a “potential key witness” in the trial of Guzman, which is set to begin in September in New York.
Guzman was captured in January 2016 after being on the run for six months and extradited to the U.S. last year. He had previously been detained but managed to escape twice -- in 2001 with the help of Lopez, who then gained his trust, and in 2015 from a high-security Mexican prison through a tunnel.
“Both the Mexican Attorney General and the United States Justice Department have a legal interest in Guzman’s successful trial and sanction,” Beltran said at a news conference Friday morning.
Lopez, 52, faces drug trafficking charges filed in the Eastern District of Virginia. He has also been charged with conspiring to commit money laundering and could face life in prison if convicted.
He was detained on May 2, 2017 by federal authorities in Mexico City.
“Until his capture, Damaso Lopez allegedly participated in a multi-year conspiracy to distribute large amounts of cocaine, intending that the drugs be imported to the United States,” said U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan.
“Lopez’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,” Cronan added, thanking Mexico for the "success" of the bilateral cooperation.Last Mod: 07 Temmuz 2018, 09:28