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Who is ‘Otoniel’, the Colombian drug lord who is extradited to the United States?

Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, known by the alias of “Othniel”, was the most wanted drug trafficker in Colombia until his capture in October 2021. The one who was the top boss of the Gulf Clana drug trafficking organization, is extradited this Wednesday to the United States to answer for crimes associated with drug trafficking.

Colombian President Ivan Duke operated on April 8 extradition order To united states.

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Here is some information about his criminal history and debts before the law:


Othniel, 50, has accumulated an extensive criminal career in Colombian armed groups of the left and right. Born in 1971 in the region of Urabain the northwest of the country, in a peasant family, entered the guerrilla Popular Liberation Army (EPL) in his adolescence who was present in the area. He demobilized in 1991, when he was 19 years old.

The most wanted drug lord in Colombia and head of the Clan del Golfo, Dairo Antonio Usuga -alias ‘Otoniel’- after his capture, in Bogotá. (Photo: Colombian National Police / AFP). (-/)

The armed conflict continued and several former guerrillas, including Othnieljoined paramilitary groups that would consolidate as United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. In 2005 the self-defense groups demobilized after negotiating with the State, however, a part of the demobilized he committed another crime this time with a paramilitary group that rearmed and was baptized Los Urabeñosalso known as Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC) and later Gulf Clan. Otoniel advanced in rank, taking charge of finances and drug trafficking routes.

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The story of Othniel took an important turn in 2009 with the capture of his boss Daniel Rendon Herrera, aka “Don Mario”which gave way to an internal restructuring of the armed group. Juan de Dios Úsuga, brother of Otoniel, was left in command and even the criminal organization became known as the Clan Úsuga. But it was not until 2012 when Othniel was left in charge after the death of his brother in a police operation. ANDhe feared capo had the capacity to send up to 20 tons of cocaine per month with an army of some 3,500 peopleaccording to calculations by the Colombian authorities.


For Othnielwho suffered a low profile for a long time and remained a fugitive for years, The United States offered a $5 million reward. The capo is requested for extradition by three US courts —including those of the Southern District of Florida and those of the Eastern and Southern districts of New York— for drug-related crimes allegedly committed between 2002 and 2021.

Dairo Antonio Úsuga, after being captured.

Dairo Antonio Úsuga, after being captured.

Othniel He is allegedly accused of preparing and transporting thousands of kilograms of cocaine from Colombia to Central America with the ultimate goal of taking them to the United States. According to the Eastern Court of New York, the Gulf Clan commanding Otoniel coordinated the production, purchase, and shipment of cocaine and collected a “tax” from drug traffickers operating in the regions under his control.. The District Court of South Florida indicates that multiple witnesses and other sources of information assure that the Clan del Golfo used unregistered speedboats, planes and cargo ship containers to send the cocaine.


Otoniel has accumulated seven convictions and 128 arrest warrants in Colombia for crimes such as forced disappearance, homicide, use of minors in the commission of a crime, displacement, kidnapping, illegal possession of weapons and drugs, and violent carnal access. After capturing him In the place where Otoniel was hiding, the police found a minor who had been held against her will.. The authorities have indicated that Othniel he used to sexually abuse women, especially girls.

President Duke assured after signing his extradition that Othniel He will continue collaborating from the United States with the justice of his native country, and that once he responds in the United States, he will return to Colombia to “comply for his crimes.”

Some of Otoniel’s victims have criticized his extradition because they demand that he be held accountable before Colombian justice for murders and disappearances.

The arrest of Othniel It was described by Duque as the most important victory against drug trafficking in the 21st century, even comparable to the fall of drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, who died in 1993.


Otoniel, through his defense attorney, asked the Colombian Supreme Court not to endorse his extradition so that the capo could respond to his victims in Colombia.especially through appearing before the peace tribunal in Colombia.

After his capture, Otoniel asked to be tried before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), court created to judge the facts of the armed conflict after the signing of peace between the State and the extinct guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). However, the JEP did not allow his entry, which would give him, among other benefits, the guarantee of non-extradition.

Nevertheless, Otoniel has collaborated as a witness and under oath in cases investigating crimes in the Urabá region and in the case of extrajudicial executions of civilians by some members of the army called “false positives.” Otoniel’s defense has said that the constant presence of the police during the proceedings has prevented the capo from fully telling his version that could imply links with the military. The police, for their part, have argued that Otoniel has escape planes and for this reason they must guard him.

Source: Elcomercio

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