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The leader of the Clan del Golfo, Dairo Antonio Usuga, alias “Otoniel”, was extradited on Wednesday to New York, where justice accuses him of drug trafficking. Once his sentence has been completed in the United States, the drug trafficker “will return to Colombia to pay for his crimes”, said Ivan Duque.
This is a triumph for Colombia’s war on drugs. The biggest drug trafficker in the country, Dairo Antonio Usuga, alias “Otoniel”, was extradited on Wednesday May 4 to the United States where he is claimed by a court in New York, welcomed Colombian President Ivan Duque. He added that the leader of the Clan del Golfo, “can only be compared to Pablo Escobar”, a famous drug trafficker and co-founder of the infamous Medellin Cartel, shot dead by the police in 1993.
“He is the most dangerous drug trafficker in the world, the murderer of social leaders and police, a rapist of children and adolescents. Today, legality, the rule of law, the public force and justice triumph”, welcomed the Colombian head of state.
“Otoniel”, aged 50, was arrested on October 23 in the north-west of the country during a vast military operation. He has been prosecuted for drug trafficking since 2009 in a New York court and his head was priced at $ 5 million by the United States.
Ae pain in the UUnited States, then in Ccolombia
Relatives of Otoniel’s victims had requested a “suspension” of the extradition, believing that this procedure would “abstract from justice a paramilitary leader who has committed crimes against humanity in our country”. They invoked their right to know the truth and to receive reparations.
But Colombian justice finally gave the green light to his extradition, Mr. Usuga’s defense team told AFP.
And once his sentence has been served in the United States, the head of the Clan del Golfo “will return to Colombia to pay for all his crimes committed in our country”, assured the Colombian head of state on Wednesday.
President Duque “thanked” the Supreme Court, the Council of State as well as the JEP (a special jurisdiction investigating the armed conflict in Colombia) “for having avoided the intentional manipulations of this criminal to try to avoid this extradition” .
Incidents during detention
The detention under close surveillance in Bogota of the drug lord was marked by several incidents and controversies.
Recordings of his testimony before the Truth Commission, the body that investigates human rights violations during the armed conflict in Colombia until the signing of the 2016 peace agreement, have been stolen by unknown persons.
Colombian police also interrupted a hearing for “Otoniel”, saying they suspected an escape attempt.
“Who’s afraid of Otoniel,” headlined the independent online media Cambio, saying some wanted to silence the drug trafficker, who allegedly said during his hearings that the army continued to work in complicity with far-right paramilitaries. in some parts of the country.
According to the press, citing a JEP document, “Otoniel” implicated 63 people, allegedly linked to the Clan de Golfo, including a former minister, a former national director of the intelligence services, six former governors and four former members of the Parliament.
According to his lawyers, the drug baron also claimed to have organized his surrender.
In five decades of US-backed war on drugs, Colombia has killed or captured several drug lords. But the country remains the world’s largest producer of cocaine and the United States the main market, while violence linked to trafficking continues.