Security forces arrest one of the most dangerous drug kingpins, Dairo Antonio Usuga David 'Otoniel' of Colombia

Dairo Antonio Usuga David, alias "Otoniel", top leader of the Gulf clan, poses for a photo escorted by Colombian military soldiers after being captured, in Necocli, Colombia October 23, 2021. Colombia's Military Forces/Handout via REUTERS

A legendary Colombian drug lord has been apprehended in what has been characterized as the country's worst blow to the drug trafficking network since Pablo Escobar's death.

Armed forces apprehended Dairo Antonio Usuga, also known as Otoniel, during an operation in a rural section of the South American nation's Uraba region.

The Colombian and US governments were willing to pay a high price for intelligence on the gang leader's network and whereabouts, offering three billion pesos (£577,000) and $5 million (£3.6 million), respectively.

Otoniel is accused of shipping scores of cocaine shipments to the United States and murdering police officers, illegal mining, recruiting juveniles, and sexually abusing children.

In a video message, Colombian President Ivan Duque praised the 50-year-arrest, old's adding, "This is the most significant blow against drug trafficking in our country this century."

"This blow is only comparable to the fall of Pablo Escobar in the 1990s."

According to defense secretary Diego Molano, the Osiris operation on Saturday involved more than 500 Colombian special soldiers and 22 helicopters.

Soldiers posed for photos and snapped selfies with Otoniel because the arrest was so significant.

Years of searching for Otoniel came to an end with the operation, resulting in one police officer's death.

In 2016, many of his lieutenants were apprehended and slain, and his sister, Nini Johana Usuga, was detained in March of this year.

She was extradited to the United States to face narcotics trafficking and money laundering accusations.

Following periods as a left-wing guerrilla and then as a paramilitary, Otoniel rose to fame as the drug trafficking group Clan del Golfo, or Gulf Clan.

Clan del Golfo has roughly 1,200 armed individuals stationed across 10 of Colombia's 32 provinces; the majority of them are former members of far-right paramilitary groups.

While Colombia's president seemed upbeat following Otoniel's arrest, he has been warned that he will almost probably be replaced by someone else.

The arrest was a "big deal," according to Sergio Guzman, director of the Colombia Risk Analysis organization, but Otoniel was "bound to be replaced."

Publish : 2021-10-24 11:10:00

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