Top lieutenant to 'El Chapo' sentenced to life in prison

Posted at 3:04 PM, Nov 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-30 18:04:50-05

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- A top lieutenant to drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has been sentenced to life in prison in a Virginia courtroom.

Damaso Lopez, a leader in Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel, pleaded guilty in September in an Alexandria federal court to drug trafficking charges after being extradited from Mexico earlier this year.

Friday's life sentence was expected after both sides agreed to a life term as part of a plea bargain.

In court papers, Lopez admitted he was a senior leader in the Sinaloa cartel and controlled a faction with hundreds of men. He admitted using "sicarios," or hitmen, to conduct murders to further the cartel's interest and move tons of cocaine and other drugs throughout the Americas.

Lopez's sentencing comes as Guzman is facing his own trial in New York.