Colombia’s most wanted drug trafficker extradited to US
“I want to reveal that Dairo Antonio Usuga, alias ‘Otoniel’ has been extradited,” President Ivan Duque announced on Twitter on Wednesday, calling him “the most dangerous drug trafficker in the world”.
Usuga, 50, was the most wanted person in Colombia until he was arrested last October in the northwest of the country after a massive military operation.
Duque described Usuga as a “murderer of social leaders and police, an abuser of boys, girls and teenagers”.
“Today legality, the rule of law, the security forces and justice triumphed,” he added.
On Wednesday afternoon, a convoy of five bulletproof police vehicles transported Usuga from a prison in the capital, Bogota, to a military airport, where he was handed over to US Drug Enforcement Administration officials, AlJazeera reported.
Images shared by local media showed a handcuffed Usuga seated in a plane alongside Colombian police and an Interpol official.
Usuga was the leader of Colombia’s largest narco-trafficking gang, known as the Gulf Clan.
He was captured near the border with Panama following a military operation involving 500 soldiers backed by 22 helicopters, in which one police officer was killed.
His arrest was one of the biggest blows to Colombia’s drug trafficking business since Pablo Escobar was killed in 1993.
Usuga was indicted in 2009 in the United States, which had offered a $5m bounty for information leading to his arrest.
The US accuses Usuga and the Gulf Clan of illegally bringing at least 73 tonnes of cocaine into the country between 2003 and 2012.
Following Usuga’s arrest and that of another 90 suspected gang members, Duque declared the “end” of the Gulf Clan.
However, four Colombian soldiers were killed in attacks blamed on the gang just days after Usuga’s arrest.