His process is a clear example of the effects of a criminal policy based on prohibition, which focuses solely on the persecution of the declared illicit drug market and ignores the human rights violations committed to sustain the business.

Seven years after the murder of journalist Javier Valdez, in Culiacán, we know little about his process in the search and construction of justice and memory exercises. And everything indicates that we will have to wait longer because the authorities in charge of investigations and the prosecution of justice have not carried out diligent actions in order to guarantee justice for the crime.

What do we know? We know that the material authors were Luis Idelfonso Sánchez Romero, alias The devil; Heriberto Picos Barraza, alias The koala; and Francisco Picos Barrueta, The Quillo. Sánchez Romero was murdered and his body cremated on April 26, 2018 in Sonora. El Koala and El Quillo have convictions in Mexico for the murder.

Sanchez Romero. Material author. Photo: Special.
Barraza Peaks. Valdez murderer. Photo: Special.

We also know that Dámaso López Serrano, alias The Mini Lic.is the intellectual author of the murder. The Mini Lic. He is the son of Dámaso López Núñez, Graduatewho served as Joaquín’s financial operator El Chapo Guzmán, and who held an important position within the Sinaloa Cartel.

The Mini Lic. He inherited the power that his father had within the criminal structure of the Sinaloa Cartel when he was arrested and extradited in July 2018, and who became a key witness in the trial against the Chapofor which he achieved a reduction in his sentence as a benefit for his cooperation (from life imprisonment to 14 years).

Javier Valdez recounted the conflict that existed between Los Chapitos and The Mini Lic. after the capture of Chapo in 2016, something that neither party at all liked, and for the same reason, Valdez received pressure to refrain from publishing his chronicles.

Dámaso López Serrano surrendered to the United States authorities two months after the murder of Javier Valdez, although not precisely because of that fact. Since 2016, the San Diego grand jury indicted him on three counts: conspiring to import and distribute methamphetamine, heroin, etc.; The third charge was for “conspiring to move” money, similar to the crime of money laundering. That same year, the Virginia court also issued an indictment against him for distributing cocaine. In Mexico, in 2020, the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) reported that it obtained an arrest warrant against The Mini Lic. for being the intellectual actor in the murder of Javier Valdez.

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In September 2024, López Serrano was sentenced in the United States to six years in prison for crimes related to drug trafficking and to pay one million dollars. However, he was recognized for “compliance with his sentence” for the time he was in prison since 2017, the date on which he surrendered.

For this reason, on the same day that the sentence was handed down, he was released, without considering an arrest warrant for extradition purposes requested by the Mexican government for the murder of journalist Javier Valdez.

The American judge who handled his case noted that The Mini Lic. “He has made great progress and “enormous work” since the damages he committed as a member of the Sinaloa Cartel.”

The Mini Lic. Protected. Photo: David Deolarte.

Thus, we identified that the judicial processes in the United States do not consider the damages caused by the murder of Javier Valdez in terms of human rights and the construction of comprehensive justice, which is complemented with reparation and guarantees of non-repetition.

Hence the importance of the authorities of the Mexican State diligently carrying out the processes of building justice in Mexico for crimes that violate the human rights of society, and in this way guarantee that impunity is not the common denominator of these crimes.

We do not know?

If there is an arrest warrant for extradition purposes, or if it has been formalized; We do not know if there are in fact accusations against him for the murder of Javier Valdez in Mexico; We do not know the current whereabouts of Dámaso López Serrano; We do not know the information that he shared with the United States authorities, which could contribute to truth and justice processes in Mexico. We don’t know when justice will come.

Given this, at Elementa DDHH we demand that all the necessary measures and resources be activated to promote the due processes of truth, justice and reparation in the Javier Valdez case.

Seven years after his murder, we continue to wait for clarification of what happened, for the guilty parties to be punished, for processes of memory and truth to be generated, as well as guarantees of non-repetition for journalists who suffer multiple violence for exercising their rights and freedom. journalistic work. We demand that the truth be constructed through processes of transparency and accountability.

Justice is a pending debt in Mexico in the Javier Valdez case. Although the material authors have convictions against them, the intellectual author enjoys benefits granted by the United States Department of Justice for having cooperated in their cases related to drug crimes. However, Mexico has done little to properly follow up on the case and provide justice.

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The sons of El Chapo. Photo: Special.

Negotiation: the exchange of information for freedom and protection

In July 2017, Dámaso López Serrano, The Mini Lic.he surrendered in the United States ready to negotiate. The Mini Lic.son of Dámaso López Núñez – the closest ally of the Chapo– and who since the capture of his father led a faction of the Sinaloa Cartel contrary to Los Chapitoswas facing a conviction for drug trafficking.

In addition to these crimes, for which he pleaded guilty, he also admitted in court to having ordered at least 15 murders and 20 kidnappings. However, since none of these crimes were subject to trial, he was only convicted of those crimes related to drug trafficking.

After being sentenced, Mexico also opened proceedings against him for being the alleged intellectual author of the murder of journalist Javier Valdez. This process, however, has been largely ignored by justice institutions in the United States given that, although the FGR issued an arrest warrant against him and then requested his extradition, this did not proceed and Dámaso was released early. in 2024.

This fact not only has a family and community impact, but also at the national level, where the murder of journalists who report on drug trafficking and its relationship with State structures is another fragment of the spiral of violence sustained by macrocriminality networks.

Today we know that the collaboration that allowed him to obtain benefits such as continued protection, a reduction in his sentence and the possibility of avoiding justice in Mexico was and continues to be against the Chapo and Los Chapitos.

His process is a clear example of the effects of a criminal policy based on prohibition, which focuses solely on the persecution of the declared illicit drug market and ignores the human rights violations committed to sustain the business.

For the victims there is neither justice nor truth. On the contrary, the interview published in the monthly edition of Process last November – in which The Mini Lic. pronounced his innocence regarding the murder of Javier Valdez, pointed out to Los Chapitos as the true perpetrators and spoke of the payments to the Secretary of Public Security of Felipe Calderón’s government, Genaro García Luna – is another example of the weight that politics has on justice.

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