Damaso Lopez, a former security official, is believed to have helped the Sinaloa cartel druglord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman escape from a maximum security prison in 2001.

Accused drug kingpin Damaso Lopez (C), nicknamed
Accused drug kingpin Damaso Lopez (C), nicknamed "The Graduate", is escorted by police officers after he was arrested, in Mexico City, Mexico May 2, 2017. (Image Source)

Mexican security forces on Tuesday arrested accused drug lord Damaso Lopez, who is believed to be locked in a bloody struggle to control the Sinaloa Cartel with the sons of its imprisoned kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

The attorney general's office announced that its agents with the help of the army had captured Lopez, one of the top-ranking figures in the world's most successful drug cartel, which has been destabilised by "El Chapo's" extradition in January to the United States.

Lopez, nicknamed "The Graduate," was captured in an apartment in a middle-class Mexico City neighbourhood in the early hours of Tuesday, a few weeks after a video emerged of him eating at a Mexico City restaurant.

He was held at the apartment with a heavy army presence outside the building before being sped in a convoy of white vehicles through the city to a unit of the attorney general's office, live TV footage showed.

Lopez is himself a former security official who Mexican officials say helped in Guzman's first escape from prison in 2001, before joining the cartel.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman

Guzman, who broke out twice from prison in Mexico, was recaptured in January 2016 and was extradited to the United States to face charges there on Jan. 19, the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration as US president.

Trump has vowed to break the power of transnational drug cartels and said that his planned wall on the US-Mexico border would stem the flow of drugs into the country. He has issued executive orders that aim to improve coordination between US law enforcement agencies and their foreign partners.

Since Guzman's arrest, top cartel operatives have engaged in a bloody struggle to control the group, resulting in a wave of violence in the western state of Sinaloa and nearby Baja California Sur.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies