Bugattis, Ferraris, a lion, women in short dresses, guns, suitcases filled with cash, and top-shelf booze.
Those are the basic ingredients of a music video tribute to the life of Damaso Lopez Serrano, the narco junior who, at the age of 28, is the newest leader of the Sinaloa drug empire, according to Mexican intelligence.
Similar to the early days of gangster rap, narco corridos are catchy ballads that glorify the life and times of Mexican drug traffickers. The songs are usually commissioned by drug kingpins themselves. (No pressure: just come up with a hit song that makes me look good, or I'll kill your family).
Getting his own tribute song and music video is one of the many perks afforded to Damaso as the new boss of the world’s most notorious drug-trafficking organization. Here is the year’s hottest narco video:
The DEA describes Damaso as a seductive sociopath with a big footprint on social media, where he uploads photographs showcasing his fortune and power. Here he is on Facebook and on Twitter where he offers uplifting narco-insights and talks about his booty calls. Damaso's lust for the fast life have made him a type criminal celebrity.
Known as “El Mini Licenciado” or "the little college graduate," Damaso is the godson of imprisoned drug lord Joaquin Chapo Guzman and the former head of a cartel cell known as “Los Antrax.”
The young narco was able to rise above others in line for the job — aging kingpins Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and Juan Jose “El Azul” Esparragoza — to take over the "family business" and fill the power vacuum left by his godfather.
But Damaso didn’t suddenly appear from nowhere. Like any junior, his parents paved the way for his success. His father, Damaso Lopez Nuñez ("El Licenciado"), was tight with Chapo Guzman.
The older Lic. was an ex-cop and former public ministry agent who at the time of Chapo’s first arrest, back in the 1990s, was the No. 2 man at the maximum-security prison of Puente Grande. When speaking to Mexican authorities, Chapo referred to him as his “compadre,” Spanish slang for close buddy.
Before leaving his job as the Director of Security and Custody, Damaso senior made sure he left the necessary conditions to facilitate Chapo’s 2001 prison break. That favor is being repaid now.
What will Damaso’s criminal reign look like? For now his narco corrido assures us the young drug lord will be tempted to turn the Sinaloa brotherhood into the biggest criminal fraternity the world has ever seen. And his rise to power is a clear sign that a new generation and breed of narcos is assuming control of Mexico's most lucrative business.
Carlos Loret de Mola is an award winning Mexican journalist and popular news anchor of Televisa’s “Primero Noticias.” He has served as a war correspondent in Afghanistan, Haiti, Egypt, Syria and Libya and writes for a number of news outlets on issues ranging from the drug war to international politics. Carlos has broken many influential stories about the operations that led to the capture of some of Mexico’s most wanted criminals. In 2001 he wrote the book "The Deal. Mexican economy trapped by drug trafficking." He is a frustrated chef, runner and guitar troubadour… but he keeps trying.