In the months since former Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was turned over to US authorities, Mexico has seen spiraling violence in the territory controlled by his cartel, as rivals, underlings, and siblings compete to assume control — a battle that started in the months after Guzman’s January 2016 arrest.

In response to rippling violence, the Mexican government appears to have stepped up its efforts to capture or kill Sinaloa cartel lieutenants and members of other groups vying for control.

The most recent major apprehension came in early May, when Mexican authorities arrested Damaso Lopez Nuñez, 51, a longtime confidant of Guzman who, in recent months, is believed to have mounted a violent campaign to assume control of the Sinaloa organization.

“(Lopez) is considered one of the main drug traffickers and generators of violence in Sinaloa and the south of the Baja California peninsula,” Omar Garcia, head of the Criminal Investigation Agency, told a news conference after the arrest on May 3.

Lopez was arrested in Anzures, an upscale area of Mexico City, while an associate, Victor Geovanny Gonzalez Sepulveda, a suspected financial operative for Lopez, was detained nearby.


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Featured image courtesy of Reuters