Most wanted Drug Trafficker of Colombia, Dairo Antonio captured

Most wanted Drug Trafficker of Colombia and head of the largest criminal gang of the South American nation - Dairo Antonio Úsuga has been detained. He was caught in a 'joint operation' by the army, air force and Police on Saturday during which one police officer also lost his life.

Dairo Antonio Úsuga after his arrest.

Bogotá, Colombia: Most wanted Drug Trafficker of Colombia and head of the largest criminal gang of the South American nation – Dairo Antonio Úsuga has been detained. He was caught in a ‘joint operation’ by the army, air force and Police on Saturday during which one police officer also lost his life.

Antonio Úsuga was captured from his rural hideout in Antioquia province in north-western Colombia. Various operations were done earlier by the authorities, but they were not fruitful.

Dairo Antonio Úsuga is commonly known as Otoniel. An amount of $800,000 (£582,000) reward has been announced by the Colombian government to the source who provided information about Otoniel’s whereabouts. The US has also lodged a bounty of $5m on his head.

Colombian President – Iván Duque applauded the capture of the most wanted drug trafficker and cited, “This is the biggest blow against drug trafficking in our country this century. This blow is only ‘comparable’ to the fall of “Pablo Escobar” in the 1990s.”

Otoniel became the head of the “Gulf Clan”, beforehand known as the “Usuga Clan”, after its former leader, his brother, was killed almost ten years ago by police officers in a raid on a New Year’s Eve party.

Colombia’s security forces marked the gang as the “country’s most powerful criminal organisation”, while authorities in the US label it as “heavily armed and extremely violent”. The gang, which operates in many territories and has far-reaching international connections, is engaged in the smuggling of drugs and people, illegal gold mining and extortion.

The gang regulates many of the routes which are used to smuggle drugs from Colombia to the United States & as far away as Russia. Otoniel now faces several charges, which also include – sending shipments of cocaine to the United States, killing police officers and recruiting children.

Otoniel was charged in the US in 2009 and faced extradition proceedings which could see him eventually appear in court in New York.