Extradited to the United States, “Otoniel” pleads not guilty to international drug trafficking

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Colombia’s biggest drug trafficker, “Otoniel” pleaded not guilty on Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, to charges of international cocaine trafficking against him. He was extradited to the United States the day before and placed in detention.

Extradited to the United States, Colombia’s biggest drug trafficker faces charges of international cocaine trafficking. Dairo Antonio Usuga David, alias “Otoniel”, pleaded not guilty on Thursday, May 5, in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

The Gulf Clan cartel leader is charged with conducting a criminal enterprise between June 2003 and October 2021, and conspiring internationally to manufacture and distribute cocaine with intent to illegally export it to the United States. United, detailed the federal prosecutor of Brooklyn, Breon Peace. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Federal Judge Vera Scanlon decided to remand him in custody, which he did not contest on Thursday, and the next hearing was set for June 2.

During a press conference which took place shortly before the hearing, the prosecutor spoke of “one of the most dangerous and wanted drug kingpins in the world”, echoing the Colombian President, Ivan Duque, who Wednesday compared him to Pablo Escobar, the founder of the Medellin cartel shot dead by police in 1993.

On Wednesday afternoon, a convoy of five armored police vehicles had transported Dairo Antonio Usuga David from a prison in the capital Bogota to a military airport, where he was handed over to agents of the United States Drug Enforcement (DEA). He had landed late in the evening in New York.

Accused of smuggling cocaine into the United States

“Otoniel” was arrested on October 23 in northwestern Colombia during a large military operation. He has been prosecuted for drug trafficking since 2009 in a New York court.

American justice considers that he was the “supreme leader” from 2012 to 2021 of the Gulf Clan, a criminal organization that could have counted up to 6,000 men depending on the period, and controlling part of the coastal department of Antioquia. To control this territory, “he oversaw an army of henchmen who murdered, kidnapped and tortured victims, including members of Colombia’s law enforcement and military,” prosecutor Breon Peace charged.

According to the indictment, between 2003 and 2021 “his clan attempted to export more than 90,000 kg of cocaine to the United States”, underlined the boss of the DEA, Anne Milgram, or according to her 2 billion dollars. dollars worth when sold on the street.

“The United States is today in the midst of an unprecedented overdose Pandemic”, with “an American dying every five minutes in our country”, she recalled, pointing the finger at international cartels drug.

With AFP


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