Mexico wants the U.S. to hand over El Chapo’s godson Dámaso Lopez-Serrano, known as "Mini Lic," in connection with the 2017 killing of an award-winning journalist.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, he was released from a U.S. prison on Sept. 16. His release happened after a judge of the Southern District Court of California determined that he collaborated sufficiently with the authorities.

He is accused in Mexico of being the intellectual author of the murder of Javier Valdez-Cárdenas, reported El Universal. The Mexican journalist was killed in Culiacán in the state of Sinaloa in May 2017.

Lopez-Serrano, an ex-partner of drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, should be tried in Mexico and extradited from America, said Reporters Without Borders (RSF), according to Mexico Daily Post. The Mexican authorities were asked by the organization to extradite him to Mexico from the U.S. The organization said in a statement that the demand for justice is "not only for the perpetrators of the crime."

RSF noted that there is still the criminal process against the "alleged intellectual author, who also has to be brought before the Mexican courts of justice." They noted that as long as that "does not happen, the case will continue to go unpunished." The organization pointed out that the crime has not been solved, so the main suspect must face the Mexican justice system. The organization shared that in January 2020, an arrest warrant was formalized in Mexico against Mini Lic. But they said that “it is not yet clear what the strategy” of the Prosecutor’s Office is to achieve extradition.

When the 34-year-old had the opportunity to speak in a U.S. courtroom earlier this month, he swore he was a changed man, reported Vice. López-Serrano told the court through a Spanish interpreter that he knows that he is going to be a "completely different person than I used to be." He asked for an opportunity to "start a new life.”

Chief U.S. District Court judge Dana Sabraw then granted his wish. The judge called his case “extraordinary” and “exceptional. She gave López-Serrano “time served” after five years in custody. It allowed him to dodge a decade or more in federal jail after pleading guilty to drug conspiracy charges. In addition, he was ordered to forfeit $1 million in drug proceeds.

But the sentencing in San Diego is still subject to an “immigration detainer,” Sabraw told López-Serrano. It means that he could face deportation to Mexico. It has a pending extradition request for his alleged role as mastermind of the assassination of Valdez-Cárdenas. López-Serrano previously denied it. He alleged that he is being framed for the killing by El Chapo’s sons and corrupt Mexican officials. It's an allegation that some in U.S. law enforcement believe could be the case.

He got leniency in part as he voluntarily surrendered at a California border crossing in August 2017. He turned himself in after fleeing a cartel war with El Chapo’s sons. It ended with him and his father, Dámaso López-Nuñez, on the losing side. His father was eventually extradited to the U.S. and became a cooperating witness against El Chapo.

File picture of Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera aka 'El Chapo Guzman'
Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera aka "el Chapo Guzman" (C), is escorted by marines as he is presented to the press on February 22, 2014 in Mexico City. Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has escaped from a maximum-security prison for the second time in 14 years, sparking a massive manhunt Sunday and dealing an embarrassing blow to the government. Photo by Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images

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