Otoniel: Colombia’s Most Wanted Drug Lord Arrested | Drug news

Colombian security forces have arrested Dairo Antonio Usuga, the country’s most wanted drug trafficker.

The 50-year-old, better known as Otoniel, was arrested on Saturday during a raid in a rural area of ​​Colombia’s Uraba region in the province of Antioch.

The photo, which has spread on social media, shows Otoniel wearing handcuffs and his face on the ground.

President Evan Duke likened his arrest to the capture of Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar three decades ago.

O’Connell has been charged with sending dozens of consignments of cocaine to the United States, as well as murdering police officers, recruiting minors and sexually abusing children among other crimes, Duke said.

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, the president 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.

‘Forced to replace’

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 Colombia’s biggest drug lord,” Guzman told Reuters news agency, adding that the arrests would not fundamentally change drug trafficking.

“Ottonial forced to be replaced.”

According to police, Colombian authorities intensified their efforts to apprehend Otoniel in 2016, killing and capturing dozens of his lieutenants, chasing after his money and forcing him to move constantly.

The network of leaked and safe houses in rural homes has allowed him to resist years of military crackdowns.

But the war is taking its toll on fugitives, who also insisted on sleeping on an orthopedic mattress to reduce back injuries while running.

In 2017, he showed his face for the first time on the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to the country, releasing a video asking him to allow his party to keep weapons and deactivate them as part of the country’s peace process. Colombia has many large revolutionary armed forces (FARC).

But the plan never succeeded.

Authorities said intelligence provided by the United States and the United Kingdom led more than 500 Colombian special forces soldiers and members to the Otoniel jungle camp, which was guarded by eight security cordons.

It was “the biggest intrusion into the jungle in our country’s military history,” Duke said.

His arrest was something of an incentive for the conservative president, whose law-and-order statements had no resemblance to the growing production of cocaine.

The land devoted to coca production – the raw material for cocaine – jumped 16 percent last year to a record 245,000 hectares, a level that has disappeared in two decades of U.S. eradication efforts, according to a White House report.

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