Mexico captures top lieutenant of drug kingpin Chapo Guzman

Federal police officers stand guard near the jail where Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was imprisoned before being extradited to the United States on Thursday, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico January 19, 2017.

Mexican security forces have arrested accused drug kingpin Damaso Lopez, believed to be engaged in a bloody struggle for control of the Sinaloa Cartel with the sons of its captured leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

The attorney general’s office on Tuesday announced on Twitter that its agents with the help of the army had captured Lopez, one of the top-ranking figures in the cartel.

Mexican media said Lopez, nicknamed “The Graduate,” was captured in a middle-class Mexico City neighborhood. Television networks showed images they said were of Lopez sitting on a sofa flanked by two heavily armed police officers.

Media reports said Lopez was seized in the early hours of Tuesday.

Lopez is himself a former security official who Mexican officials say played a role in orchestrating Guzman’s first escape from prison in 2001, before joining the cartel.

Guzman, who broke out twice from prison in Mexico, was recaptured for the last time in January 2016. One of the world’s most wanted drug lords, he was extradited to the United States to face multiple charges on Jan. 19, the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration as U.S. president.

Guzman’s latest imprisonment triggered a violent power struggle that has led to daylight gunbattles involving truck-mounted machine guns in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, with Mexican officials attributing the bloodshed to a tussle between Lopez and the former leader’s sons.



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