Captured Colombian drug lord to be extradited to US

Dairo Antonio Usuga, or Otoniel, caught by armed forces after decade evading arrest

Dairo Antonio Usuga David, also known as Otoniel, is the alleged head of the Clan del Golfo cartel and was the most wanted person in the country. Photograph: National Police of Colombia/EPA

Dairo Antonio Usuga David, also known as Otoniel, is the alleged head of the Clan del Golfo cartel and was the most wanted person in the country. Photograph: National Police of Colombia/EPA

 

Colombia’s priority is to extradite the captured drug lord Dairo Antonio Usuga, known as Otoniel, to the United States, government and security sources said.

Otoniel (50) was caught by Colombia’s armed forces, after evading arrest for more than a decade, during an operation in a rural area of Colombia’s Uraba region, Antioquia province, officials said on Saturday.

Colombia’s president Iván Duque Márquez likened the arrest to the capture three decades ago of Pablo Escobar.

Otoniel faces extradition orders from the United States, and Mr Duque Márquez said the country will work with authorities to make sure the extradition takes place.

Getting the drug trafficker, who faces dozens of arrest warrants, to the US is Colombia’s priority following his capture, a government source and two security sources told Reuters.

Colombia had offered a reward of up to three billion pesos (about €682,000) for information concerning Otoniel’s whereabouts, while the US government had put up a reward of $5 million (€4.3 million) for help locating him.

Otoniel is the alleged head of the much-feared Gulf Clan, whose army of assassins has terrorised much of northern Colombia to gain control of major cocaine smuggling routes through thick jungles north to Central America and onto the US.

He has also cycled through the ranks of several guerrilla groups, most recently claiming to lead the Gaitanist Self Defence Forces of Colombia. – Reuters