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Colombian cartel leader ‘Otoniel’ extradited to US to face drug charges

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Labeled the world’s most dangerous drug trafficker, Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, better known as ‘Otoniel,’ was extradited from Colombia to the United States on WednColombian President Ivan Duque called the head of the dreaded Gulf Clan the “most dangerous drug trafficker in the world” and “comparable to Pablo Escobar.” Before his capture in October of 2021, Otoniel was Columbia’s most-wanted drug lord. An operation consisting of of hundreds of soldiers seized him at his hideout, and Duque has high praise for the military leaders who secured this high-profile target.

Facing indictments in three U.S. federal courts and with a $5 million bounty on him, Otoniel has been on the lamb for more than ten years. He has achieved this by corrupting officials and making alliances with those on the left and right sides of the combatant fence. He has been on the Drug Enforcement Agency’s most-wanted list for a long time, with his first U.S. indictment dating back to 2009.

The past charges include narcotics smuggling, providing assistance to a paramilitary group deemed a terrorist organization by the United States, and importing at least 73 tons of cocaine into the country through various nations such as Mexico and Panama. Otoniel has served as the head of numerous guerilla groups and claims to be theo currently be the leader of the Gaitanist Self Defense Forces of Colombia.

Not everyone celebrated the kingpin’s extradition. A group of Otoniel’s victims argued this would violate their rights to justice as he faces more than 128 proceedings against him in Colombia. After the high court dismissed the victim’s petition, Duque ensured them that Colombian and United StatesU.S. authorities would be in collaboration as to ensure Otoniel pays for his crimes.

The U.S. State Department claims Otoniel’s Gulf Clan utilizes violence and intimidation to control trafficking routes, drug labs, boat points, and secret landing strips to distribute narcotics globally. The group’s legions of assassins have terrorized most of northern Columbia to gain control of the main smuggling routes that run through Central America and into the United States.

The Gulf Clan currently operates in 13 of the nation’s 32 departments. A turf war with a rival organization for the prized smuggling routes resulted in homicides skyrocketing by 443% in just two years. Otoniel’s capture and extradition is a significant victory for justice and an equally large blow to the drug trade.

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