Dairo Antonio Usuga Wiki – Dairo Antonio Usuga biography
Colombian security forces have captured Dairo Antonio Usuga, the country’s most-wanted drug trafficker, a rural warlord who stayed on the run for more than a decade by corrupting state officials and aligning himself with combatants on the left and right.
President Iván Duque likened the arrest Saturday of Dairo Antonio Úsuga to the capture three decades ago of Pablo Escobar.
Colombia’s military presented Úsuga to the media in handcuffs and wearing rubber boots preferred by rural farmers.
He is 50 years old.
Dairo Antonio Usuga Drug Trafficker
Úsuga, better known by his alias Otoniel, is the alleged head of the much-feared Gulf Clan, whose army of assassins has terrorized much of northern Colombia to gain control of significant cocaine smuggling routes through thick jungles north to Central America and onto the U.S.
He’s long been a fixture on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s most-wanted fugitives list, for whose capture it had been offering a $5 million reward. He was first indicted in 2009, in Manhattan federal court, on narcotics charges and for allegedly assisting a far-right paramilitary group designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
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Later indictments in Brooklyn and Miami federal courts accused him of importing at least 73 metric tons of cocaine between 2003 and 2014 through countries including Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Honduras.
But like many of his gunmen, he’s also 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.
Authorities said intelligence provided by the U.S. and U.K. led more than 500 soldiers and members of Colombia’s special forces to Úsuga’s jungle hideout, protected by eight rings of security.
Úsuga for years flew under the radar of authorities by eschewing the high profile of Colombia’s better-known narcos.
His arrest is a boost for the conservative Duque, whose law and order rhetoric has been no match for the high production of cocaine.
According to a White House report, land dedicated to the production of coca — the raw ingredient of cocaine — jumped 16% last year to a record 245,000 hectares, a level unseen in two decades of U.S. eradication efforts.