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Montevideo, December 8th 2021 - 00:32 UTC

 

 

Colombian forces arrest most wanted drug trafficker Otoniel

Monday, October 25th 2021 - 08:54 UTC
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Arresting Otoniel was the most important event in the fight against drug trafficking since Pablo Escobar died, Duque said Arresting Otoniel was the most important event in the fight against drug trafficking since Pablo Escobar died, Duque said

Colombian authorities have arrested Dairo Antonio Úsuga David in a military operation on the El Yoki hill, located in the San Pablo de Necoclí village (Antioquia), it was reported during the weekend.

The former fugitive, better known for his alias “Otoniel,” is to face now over 120 trials for various crimes. The capture of Gulf Clan's leader in Chocó, on the Colombian Pacific coast in the department of Casanare, is expected to bring some relief to people in the area, Defense Minister Diego Molano said.

The 50-year-old Otoniel was the head of the Gulf Clan, a criminal network dedicated to drug trafficking present in at least 124 municipalities throughout Colombia, according to press reports.

He started as a left-wing guerrilla, then he became a far-right paramilitary operative, and finally, a leader of this drug trafficking gang, formed after guerrillas were bereft of their freedom-fighting aura around 2006.

The United States had offered up to US $ 5 million for information on Otoniel's whereabouts, while in Colombia there was a reward that was off up to Col 3 billion pesos (about US $ 795,000) for his head.

Otoniel's capture was part of a large-scale operation called Agamemnon, which was launched to either apprehend or kill the suspect as well as other members of his criminal gang. Many of his accomplices have either died or been arrested, such as Gavilán, killed in September 2017, and El Indio, who died in an operation in March 2018.

Colombian Police dedicated Otoniel's arrest to the memory of Major Edwin Guillermo Blanco Báez, who lost his life during Operation Agamemnon. President Iván Duque described the operation as “the most important capture in the world” of a drug trafficking leader. The capture of the head of the largest drug gang in Colombia represents the strongest blow to organized crime since the fall of Pablo Escobar in 1993, Duque said Saturday.

“This is the hardest blow that has been dealt with drug trafficking in this century in our country and is only comparable to the fall of Pablo Escobar,” said the president in a statement. The Colombian Army had killed Gulf Clan's second-in-command Nelson Hurtado (alias 'Marihuano' ”) Feb. 7 in what was considered” the hardest blow to the structure of that drug trafficking group.

Authorities had been hunting Otoniel since 2015 in the Urabá region through the deployment of thousands of police and military operatives participants, leading to the arrest of dozens of drug traffickers and the seizure of sizeable amounts of cocaine.

In September 2017, after the signing of the peace agreement with the FARC and the opening of dialogue with the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN), Otoniel announced in a video posted on social networks his intention to surrender. According to Colombian authorities, the Gulf Clan was responsible for sending tons of cocaine to the United States, as well as setting up a criminal network dedicated to collecting extortions from businessmen and merchants in the Urabá region, on the border with Panama.

Otoniel is also believed to have been behind the killing of numerous police officers and social leaders in the areas where the gang operates.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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