World's 'Most Dangerous Drug Trafficker' Brought to US

Dairo Antonio Usuga, aka Otoniel, extradited from Colombia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 5, 2022 5:25 PM CDT
World's 'Most Dangerous Drug Trafficker' Brought to US
In this photo released by the Colombian Presidential Press Office, police escort Dairo Antonio Usuga, center, also known as "Otoniel," at a military airport in Bogota, Colombia, Wednesday.   (Colombian presidential press office via AP)

(Newser) – Colombia has extradited the alleged head of the feared Gulf Clan, who had been the country's most wanted drug lord before his capture, to the US, where he faces indictments in three federal courts. Colombian President Iván Duque said Dairo Antonio Úsuga David is "comparable only to Pablo Escobar,” referring to the late former head of the Medellin drug cartel, per the AP. “He is not only the most dangerous drug trafficker in the world, but he is murderer of social leaders, abuser of boys, girls and adolescents, a murderer of policemen,” Duque said while accompanied by Colombia's military leaders, whom he congratulated for capturing him in October 2021.

The former rural warlord, better known by his alias Otoniel, had stayed on the run for more than a decade by corrupting state officials and aligning himself with combatants on the left and right. He was transferred Wednesday in handcuffs and wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest from a prison in Bogotá to a heavily guarded military transport airfield. He’s long been a fixture on the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s most-wanted list. He was first indicted in 2009, in Manhattan federal court, on narcotics charges and for allegedly providing assistance to a far-right paramilitary group designated a terrorist organization by the US government.

Later indictments in Brooklyn and Miami federal courts accused him of importing into the US at least 73 metric tons of cocaine between 2003 and 2014 through countries including Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Honduras. Úsuga David also has cycled through the ranks of several guerrilla groups, most recently claiming to lead the Gaitanist Self Defense Forces of Colombia, after a mid-20th century Colombian leftist firebrand. As he defied authorities for years, his legend as a bandit grew alongside the horror stories told by Colombian authorities of the many underage women he and his cohorts allegedly abused sexually.

(Read more Colombia stories.)

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