Photo: Moody Air Base


Sinaloa Cartel cell leader c, aka “Mini Lic,” pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court on Thursday, Jan. 11, to charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances for the purpose of unlawful importation following his self-surrender to U.S. law enforcement authorities at the Calexico West, Mexico Port of Entry on July 27, 2017.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Adam L. Braverman of the Southern District of California and Acting Special Agent in Charge Steve S. Woodland of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) San Diego made the announcement of López Serrano’s surrender.

The 29-year-old drug dealer, from Culiacán, Sinaloa, is believed to be the highest-ranking Mexican cartel leader ever to turn himself into to U.S. authorities.

He pleaded guilty to all charges in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in San Diego on Aug. 19, 2016, charging him and five of his close associates with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine intended for importation and conspiracy to import methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine.

López Serrano also pleaded guilty to an indictment returned Dec. 4, 2016, in the Eastern District of Virginia by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section charging him with conspiracy to distribute cocaine intended for importation.

In a proceeding before U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw, he accepted responsibility for his role as a leader within the Sinaloa Cartel, acknowledging that he organized the transportation and distribution of thousands of kilograms of controlled substances, including methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, for importation from Mexico into the United States.

 López Serrano also admitted to possessing firearms for the purpose of promoting the Sinaloa Cartel’s narcotics trafficking activities.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 12, before Judge Sabraw.

“ López Serrano’s conviction strikes a serious blow to the leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel and its violent drug trafficking activities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan.

“The Administration, the Department and our law enforcement partners are steadfast in our commitment to pursuing and dismantling the international drug rings that poison our communities.”

“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,” added U.S. Attorney Braverman.

“For López 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.”

“The guilty plea of this defendant tells the drug traffickers what they need to know,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Woodland. “DEA will keep picking off these violent criminals one by one until there are no more willing to get involved for fear that law enforcement will be coming for them soon.  In the face of the current drug crisis we face in this country, DEA will continue to investigate and bring to justice these violent criminals.”

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