MEXICO CITY — The man accused of inheriting El Chapo’s drug-trafficking empire was arrested in Mexico’s capital.
Dámaso López Núñez was hiding in the upper-class neighborhood of Anzures, in Mexico City, until his arrest on early Monday. According to the authorities, his arrest was peaceful, and no guns were shot.
López Núñez is also known as "El Licenciado" — a term for people who bear a college degree. He is allegedly in charge of the Sinaloa Cartel, the criminal organization led by drug king pin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
Years ago, “El Licenciado” was once the agent in charge of the Puente Grande jail, from which “El Chapo” escaped in 2001.
José Fernández Santillán is an expert in politics and drug cartels from Mexico City’s Tec de Monterrey. According to him, the arrest will incite violent power struggles between the cartels and even internally in the Sinaloa cartel.
However, he also considered that López Núñez will provide useful information on how the drug traffickers reach their main market: the United States.
“Donald Trump is really worried about the wall in the frontier, but the wall doesn’t matter because the real traffic of drugs is in the tunnels,” he said.
The researcher stated that López Núñez will also provide data to uncover cartel operators and corrupt authorities in both Mexico and the United States. The operation, Fernández Santillán said, proves that the Mexican and American governments continue working together against criminal organizations despite diplomatic tensions.
“On one hand, you have Trump speaking demagoguery, but on the other hand you have serious work between different agencies in Mexico and in the United States, like the DEA and the Mexican Attorney General,” Fernández Santillán said.
“El Licenciado” is facing charges for money laundering, health-related crimes and organized crime in Mexico and Virginia. He might be extradited to the United States.