The indictment, which was filed in August 2016 and ordered unsealed Monday, charges Lopez Serrano with conspiracy to import and distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.
Braverman told U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw that the investigation lasted five years and involved intercepts of more than 250 communication devices. In 2015, there were tens of thousands of communication intercepts and "a number of (drug) seizures" in Mexico and the United States.
Lopez Serrano appeared in an orange uniform for jail inmates and said little in court.
His attorney, Michael Littman, entered the not-guilty plea on his client's behalf. Littman declined to comment as he left the courtroom.
The United States also announced today the unsealing of an additional indictment returned December 4, 2016, in the Eastern District of Virginia by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section charging father and son, Damaso Lopez Nunez and Damaso Lopez Serrano, respectively, with Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances Intended for Importation. Damaso Lopez Nunez was arrested by Mexican authorities on May 2, 2017, and the United States is in the process of seeking his extradition on the December 4 indictment. Lopez Serrano will be arraigned on this indictment at a future date.
The Southern District of California indictment unsealed today marks the conclusion of the fourth phase of a five-year investigation that, in total, has resulted in charges against over 125 people and has had a significant impact on the worldwide operations of the Sinaloa Cartel. This investigation has also offered one of the most comprehensive views to date of the inner workings of one of the world’s most prolific, violent and powerful drug cartels. Cartel members and associates were targeted in this massive investigation involving multiple countries, numerous law enforcement agencies around the United States, a number of federal districts and over 250 court-authorized wiretaps in this district alone.