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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Friday, March 8, 2013

Alleged Top Lieutenant In Sinaloa Cartel Indicted

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A man the U.S. government has identified as a narcotics kingpin and top lieutenant in the Sinaloa Cartel has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va.

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mythili Raman, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division; and Karl Colder, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division Office, made the announcement after the indictment was unsealed.

            Damaso Lopez Nunez, aka “El Licensiado,” 47, of Mexico, was indicted on Nov. 23, 2011, and accused of conspiring to distribute cocaine and conspiring to commit money laundering. He faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, if convicted. The indictment was unsealed on March 7, 2013.

            On Jan. 9, 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Lopez Nunez under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, which prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with the designated individual and freezes any assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction. According to OFAC, Lopez Nunez is a top lieutenant of Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman Loera of the Sinaloa Cartel. A chart of the Chapo Guzman organization can be viewed here:

            The indictment provides a forfeiture notice of $280 million representing the proceeds of the alleged offenses.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the DEA’s Washington Division Office and Mazatlan Resident Office.Assistant United States Attorney Daniel J. Grooms of the Eastern District of Virginia’s National Security and International Crime Unit and Trial Attorney Darrin L. McCullough of the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

            Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

            A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on

Updated March 18, 2015