A federal grand jury has indicted a suspected Mexican narcotics kingpin who is an alleged power-broker for the prolifically violent Sinaloa drug cartel, U.S. Justice Department officials announced on Friday.
Damaso Lopez Nunez was originally indicted in November 2012 by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia, but the indictment remained sealed until March 8, 2013, according to federal prosecutors.
The 47-year-old Lopez Nunez is charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiring to launder money, according to a Justice Department statement.
The U.S. Treasury Department had designated Lopez Nunez a narcotics kingpin, which prohibits U.S. residents and companies from engaging in any business transactions with him.
Any assets the narco-terrorist has in the United States will be frozen, the Treasury Department states.
Federal prosecutors in Virginia said that Lopez Nunez, who is not yet in U.S. custody, is a top lieutenant of Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, who faces multiple federal indictments in the United States.
Meanwhile, Mexican police officers on Friday morning discovered five corpses wrapped in white sheets on the side of a highway in the northern Mexican city of Saltillo. An American drug enforcement liaison officer said the killings are being treated as gang-related slayings.
Officials with the Coahuila state attorney general's office claimed that three of the bodies were hung by rope from a bridge and two were on the ground. All five were men lacked identification.
In December 2012, the Mexican government estimated that some 70,000 people had died as a result of the drug war during Calderon's six years in power.
In addition, the Mexican news media estimate that more than 12,000 people died in violent incidents linked to organized crime gangs in 2012 alone. On Tuesday, the Mexican government released an official database of missing people. It reveals that 26,120 people disappeared between December 2006 and November 2012. That number is separate from the 70,000 deaths.