A young man said to be the godson of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, on the run amid a bloody power struggle over the powerful Sinaloa cartel, has turned himself in to U.S. authorities at the border in Calexico in Imperial County, Mexican news outlets reported Friday.
Damaso Lopez Serrano, known as "Mini Lic," presented himself to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the U.S.-Mexico crossing on Wednesday and was then handed over to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, an unnamed Mexican government official told the Mexican news wire service EFE.
Mexican authorities had been hunting for Lopez Serrano in neighboring Mexicali, EFE reported.
U.S. authorities did not release any information Friday. There did not appear to be any federal charges filed against him in San Diego, at least that were publicly available.
Lopez Serrano got his nickname from his father, Damaso Lopez Nuñez, known as "El Licenciado," or the Graduate. The father was reputed to be part of Guzman's top tier in the Sinaloa cartel. He was arrested by Mexican authorities in May at a high-rise tower in Mexico City.
Lopez Serrano, previously known for his playboy image on social media, used to share a friendly relationship with Guzman's sons, but that has apparently changed as Lopez Serrano's father has led an effort to wrest control of the cartel from them, according to news reports. The Sinaloa group has also come under fire from the competing Jalisco New Generation cartel.
Guzman, after a daring prison escape, was arrested in Sinaloa in January 2016 and extradited to the U.S. a year later to face drug trafficking charges in federal court in Brooklyn.
Other high-level targets close to Guzman's empire have been nabbed along this stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Last month, Guzman's alleged mistress and a former Mexican legislator, Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez, was caught as she tried to enter San Diego at the Cross Border Xpress airport terminal. She has been indicted on a conspiracy charge of helping the cartel launder money and will be tried in Washington, D.C.
Davis writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.