BOGOTA -Colombia’s armed forces have captured Dairo Antonio Usuga, often called Otoniel, within the largest blow to drug trafficking within the Andean nation because the demise of Pablo Escobar, President Ivan Duque mentioned on Saturday.
Otoniel, 50 , was captured throughout operation Osiris in a rural space of Colombia’s Uraba area, positioned in Antioquia province. He’s accused of sending dozens of shipments of cocaine to the USA, and Duque mentioned he’s additionally accused of killing law enforcement officials, recruiting minors, and sexually abusing kids amongst different crimes.
Colombia had supplied a reward of as much as 3 billion pesos (about $800,000) for info regarding Otoniel’s whereabouts, whereas the U.S. authorities had put up a reward of $5 million for assist finding him.
“That is the most important blow in opposition to drug trafficking in our nation this century,” Duque mentioned throughout a broadcast video message. “This blow is simply similar to the autumn of Pablo Escobar within the Nineties.”
One police officer died throughout the operation, Duque mentioned.
Otoniel rose to change into the chief of the drug trafficking group the Clan del Golfo, or Gulf Clan, following stints as a left-wing guerrilla and later as a paramilitary.
Clan del Golfo has round 1,200 armed males – the bulk former members of far-right paramilitary teams – and is current in 10 of Colombia’s 32 provinces.
In addition to drug trafficking, Clan del Golfo is concerned with unlawful mining, authorities say. The federal government additionally accuses the group of threatening and killing neighborhood leaders throughout the nation.
Although Duque mentioned Otoniel’s seize represented the top of the Clan del Golfo, Colombia Danger Evaluation director Sergio Guzman mentioned a brand new chief would certainly be ready to take over.
“It’s a giant deal as a result of he’s the most important drug kingpin in Colombia,” Guzman mentioned, including that the seize wouldn’t change the basics of drug trafficking. “Otoniel is certain to get replaced.”
Colombian authorities launched Operation Agamemnon in 2016 as they labored to shut in on Otoniel, killing and capturing dozens of his lieutenants, going after his funds and forcing him to be consistently on the transfer, in line with the police.
In 2017 a video wherein Otoniel introduced his intent to undergo justice was printed, however the plan by no means got here to fruition.
In March, Colombian police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Company captured Otoniel’s sister, Nini Johana Usuga, who was extradited to the USA to face costs related to drug trafficking and cash laundering.
Operation Osiris concerned greater than 500 members of Colombia’s particular forces and 22 helicopters, in line with Protection Minister Diego Molano.
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