Mexican prosecutors said Tuesday they have captured one of the Sinaloa Cartel leaders who launched a struggle for control of the gang following the re-arrest of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
The attorney general’s office said soldiers and prosecution agents had detained a drug gang leader it called “Damaso N.”
A federal official confirmed the suspect is Damaso Lopez, known by the nickname “El Licenciado” — a title for college graduates. Lopez was long considered Guzman’s right-hand man and helped him escape from a Mexican prison in 2001.
The office distributed photos showing soldiers in full battle gear guarding the entrance of an upscale apartment building on a major boulevard in Mexico City, not far from downtown.
Lopez would not be the first high-level drug suspect from outlying provinces captured in the capital. While Mexico City officials say drug cartels do not control territory in Mexico City, they acknowledge that drug lords have sometimes lived in the city and moved drug shipments through the capital.
Lopez is believed to be locked in a dispute with Guzman’s sons for control of the cartel’s territories.
Guzman was extradited to the United States earlier this year to face multiple charges.
With Guzman in jail, the Sinaloa Cartel has been controlled by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia and Rafael Caro Quintero, two of the most traditional, old-school capos, plus Lopez, and Guzman’s son, Ivan Archivaldo Guzman.
Guzman faces U.S. drug trafficking, money laundering and other charges. He has pleaded not guilty.