Sinaloa cartel leader pleads guilty to drug charges

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A leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel pleaded guilty to drug charges in federal court in San Diego, prosecutors said.

Damaso Lopez-Serrano — also known as “Mini Lic” — turned himself in to police at the Calexico West Port of Entry on July 27. The Department of Justice said it believed Lopez-Serrano was the highest-ranking Mexican cartel leader to self-surrender in the United States.

He was indicated in August 2016 along with five associates on charges including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances intended for importation and conspiracy to import controlled substances.

Lopez-Serrano faces an additional charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances intended for importation in Virginia along with his father, Damaso Lopez Nunez.

Lopez-Serrano pleaded guilty to all charges, each of which carries a mandatory sentence of a minimum of 10 years in prison, fines of $10,000 and five years supervised release.

“Cartel leaders have two options — self-surrender or we will work with our counterparts to find you, arrest you and extradite you to San Diego,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “For Lopez-Serrano’s distribution of literally tons of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin across the border to America, he will now face justice in a San Diego federal court.”