Reuters. Dairo Antonio Usuga David, aka
Oliver Griffin, Nelson Bokanegra and Luis Jaime Acosta
BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s armed forces have detained Dior Antonio Usuga, also known as Otoniel, in the biggest crackdown on drug trafficking in Indiana since the death of Pablo Escobar, President Ivan Duke said on Saturday.
Otoniel, 50, was captured during Operation Osiris in a rural area of the Uraba region of Colombia, located in the province of Antioch. He is accused of sending dozens of shipments of cocaine to the United States, and Duke says he is also accused of killing police officers, recruiting minors and sexually abusing children, among other crimes.
Colombia offered a reward of up to 3 billion pesos (about $ 800,000) for information leading to Ottonial’s whereabouts, while the U.S. government offered a 5 million reward for information leading to his capture.
“This is the biggest blow to drug trafficking in our country in this century,” Duke said during a broadcast video message. “This injury is comparable to the fall of Pablo Escobar in the 1990s.”
A police officer died during the raid, Duke said.
After serving as a leftist guerrilla and later as a paramilitary force, Otoniel became the leader of the drug trafficking group Clan del Golfo, or Gulf group.
The Clan del Golfo has about 1,200 armed men – mostly former members of the far-right paramilitary group – and is present in 10 of Colombia’s 32 provinces.
In addition to drug trafficking, Clan Dale Golfo is involved in illegal mining, authorities say. The government has also accused the group of threatening and killing community leaders across the country.
Although Duke says the capture of Otoniel represents the end of Clan del Golfer, Sergio Guzman, director of risk analysis in Colombia, said a new leader must wait to take charge.
“It’s a big deal because he’s the biggest drug lord in Colombia,” Guzman said. “Autoniel is forced to be replaced.”
According to police, Colombian authorities launched Operation Agamemnon in 2016 when they worked to shut down Otoniel, killing and capturing dozens of his lieutenants, chasing after his money and forcing him to move constantly.
A video in 2017 where Ottonial expressed his intention to submit to justice, but the plan never succeeded.
In March, Colombian police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-drugs-idUSKBN2BA2EL arrested Otoniel’s sister, Nini Johanna Usuga, who was extradited to the United States. Drug trafficking and money laundering.
According to Defense Minister Diego Molano, Operation Osiris involves more than 500 members of Colombia’s special forces and 22 helicopters.
(1 = 3,780.38 Colombian pesos)