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Mexico captures Sinaloa Cartel leader 'El Licenciado'

By Andrew V. Pestano
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Dámaso "El Licenciado" López Núñez, a leader of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán's Sinaloa Cartel, was arrested early Tuesday by Mexican security forces in Mexico City. Photo courtesy Mexico Attorney General's Office
Dámaso "El Licenciado" López Núñez, a leader of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán's Sinaloa Cartel, was arrested early Tuesday by Mexican security forces in Mexico City. Photo courtesy Mexico Attorney General's Office

May 2 (UPI) -- Mexico's attorney general said security forces captured Dámaso "El Licenciado" López Núñez, a leader of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán's Sinaloa Cartel.

López Núñez, whom forces captured early Tuesday in Mexico City's Anzures neighborhood, is the presumed successor of Guzmán after the Sinaloa Cartel kingpin was arrested. The Attorney General's Office, or PGR, said no shots were fired.

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López Núñez is wanted in the United States on drug trafficking charges. The PGR said he was arrested along with several others.

Radio Formula reported López Núñez's whereabouts were determined after he was seen dining in a Mexico City restaurant with a hacker.

Guzmán's Sinaloa Cartel is credited with dominating the illegal drug market in nearly the entire United States. "El Chapo" -- meaning "The Short One" or "shorty" -- so dubbed because of his 5-foot-6-inch frame, was detained in Guatemala in 1993 and then extradited to Mexico to face murder and drug trafficking charges.

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He escaped from prison in 2001 by hiding in a laundry cart after bribing prison guards, and was re-captured in February 2014. He was captured a second time in the city of Los Mochis in his home state of Sinaloa on Jan. 8, 2016, after escaping from Mexico's Altiplano Federal Prison on July 11, 2015.

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López Núñez is accused of organizing Guzmán's 2001 escape. Guzmán, who is facing trial in the United States, pleaded not guilty to 17 criminal charges related to his drug empire -- including corruption, murder, conspiracy, drug importation and money laundering.

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