Dairo Antonio Usuga was captured by Colombian Special Forces during an extensive operation. He was reputed to be the boss of the Gulf Clan, and had been on the lam for over 10 years.
Around 500 troops and 22 helicopters were reportedly involved in the raid on Otoniel’s hideout in the jungle area of the Uraba region in the northwest of the country. The force was so overwhelming that even eight rings of security couldn’t save the drug lord from arrest this time.
One police officer died in this operation. It was conducted using intelligence from the UK and the US, said the authorities.
On Saturday night, Otoniel, who was in handcuffs, was brought before the media by fully-armed soldiers. In the picture, distributed by Colombia’s armed forces, the 50-year-old was seen sporting high rubber boots usually worn by farmers in the rural areas of the country.
Otoniel’s arrest “is the biggest blow against drug trafficking in our country this century. This hit is only comparable to the fall of Pablo Escobar in the 1990s,” Colombian President Ivan Duque said.
He is suspected to be head of the Gulf Clan. This group has been responsible for controlling major drug smuggling routes within the jungle. For years, it has terrorized most of northern Colombia. Around 1,200 members of the Gulf Clan are former guerilla fighters. Authorities have also accused him and his associates of sexually abusing minors and recruiting them by force.
Otoniel had been previously placed a bounty of $5 million by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. The Manhattan Federal Court charged him with drug offenses and aiding an extremist militia in America. The Brooklyn Federal Court indicted him on drug charges and aiding a terrorist group. He was accused of transporting cocaine from Colombia to America, weighing 73 tons, between 2003-2014, through Mexico, Panama and Guatemala.
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Otoniel, who has been evading Colombian police more than a decade now, allegedly wouldn’t spend more that one night at the same location.
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