The son of a leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel has been indicted on U.S. drug smuggling charges.
An attorney entered a plea of not guilty Monday in federal court in San Diego on behalf of Damaso Lopez Serrano.
The younger Lopez, known as the "mini-licenciado," is infamous for his violent, flashy and undisciplined reputation. Mexican Security analyst Alejandro Hope previously said Serrano would likely seek revenge for his father's arrest.
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He’s the son of Damaso Lopez Nunez, who has launched a struggle for control of the cartel following the arrest of its leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
The 29-year-old is believed to be the highest-ranking Mexican cartel leader to self-surrender.
He was charged Monday with Conspiracy to Distribute Substances Intended for Importation and Conspiracy to Import Controlled Substances.
The elder Lopez was arrested by Mexican authorities in Mexico City in May.
Guzman was extradited to the United States earlier this year to face drug charges.
The elder Lopez, known by the nickname “El Licenciado” — a title for college graduates — was long considered Guzman’s right-hand man and helped him escape from a Mexican prison in 2001.
He is believed to be locked in a dispute with Guzman's sons for control of the cartel's territories and was blamed for an alleged attack on Zambada.