Mexican Cartel Leader Pleads Guilty to Drug Importation Conspiracy
Photo: Damaso Lopez-Serrano (Instagram)
SAN DIEGO — Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Adam L. Braverman of the Southern District of California, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Steve S. Woodland of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) San Diego have announced, “Sinaloa Cartel cell leader Damaso Lopez-Serrano aka ‘Mini Lic,’ pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances for purpose of unlawful importation following his self-surrender to U.S. law enforcement authorities at the Calexico West, Mexico Port of Entry on July 27, 2017.”
Lopez-Serrano, 29, of Culiacan, Mexico, believed to be the highest-ranking Mexican cartel leader ever to self-surrender in the United States “pleaded guilty to all charges in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in San Diego on Aug. 19, 2016.” The indictment charges him as well as five of his close associates with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine intended for importation.
A Dec. 4, 2016, guilty plea indictment also charged him with conspiracy for cocaine distribution intended for importation.
Reports state, “Lopez-Serrano accepted responsibility for his role as a leader within the Sinaloa Cartel, acknowledged that he organized the transportation and distribution of thousands of kilograms of controlled substances, including methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, for importation from Mexico into the United States. Lopez-Serrano also admitted to possessing firearms for the purpose of promoting the Sinaloa Cartel’s narcotics trafficking activities.” He faces a sentencing hearing on July 12, 2018.
Acting Assistant Atorney General Cronan announced, “Damaso Lopez-Serrano’s conviction strikes a serious blow to the leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel and its violent drug trafficking activities. The Administration, the Department and our law enforcement partners are steadfast in our commitment to pursuing and dismantling the international drug rings that poison our communities.”
U.S. Attorney Braverman offered two options to cartel dealers – “self-surrender or we will work with our counterparts to find you, arrest you and extradite you to San Diego.”