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Escobar Season Two: Colombia's most lethal drug trafficker Dairo Antonio Usuga captured

By J.Austine Oct. 25, 2021, 3:11 p.m.
Escobar Season Two: Colombia's most lethal drug trafficker Dairo Antonio Usuga captured

Colombia's most-wanted drug trafficker "Otoniel" is no longer a free man. Dairo Antonio Usuga, headed the country's largest narco-trafficking gang known as the Gulf Clan. He was captured near one of his main outposts in Necocli, near the border with Panama.

"This is the hardest strike to drug trafficking in our country this century." President Ivan Duque said in a message. Still, he added that the arrest was "only comparable to the fall of Pablo Escobar." The world number one narco-trafficking kingpin who is now behind bars.
Some 500 soldiers backed by 22 helicopters were deployed in the Necocli municipality to carry out the operation. The operation left one police officer dead.
It was "the biggest penetration of the jungle ever seen in the military history of our country," Duque said. Colombia's police chief Jorge Vargas said during a press conference that authorities carried out "an important satellite operation with agencies of the United States and the United Kingdom."

$5 million bounty on Colombia's most lethal drug trafficker

According to police, Otoniel was hiding in the jungle in the Uraba region, where he is from. He did not use a telephone, relying on couriers to communicate.Fearful of authorities, he "slept there in the rain, never approaching inhabited areas," Vargas said.
The United States had offered a $5 million bounty for information leading to the arrest of Otoniel. The Colombian national is one of the most feared men in the country and the world at large. He was indicted in the United States in 2009, and faces extradition proceedings to the country. He would appear in the Southern District of New York federal court.
The Colombian government blames the group -- financed mainly through drug trafficking, illegal mining and extortion. For being one of the main drivers of the worst bout of nationwide violence. Especially since the signing of a peace pact with FARC guerillas in 2016.
The Gulf Clan is present in almost 300 municipalities in the country, according to the independent think tank Indepaz. However, recent government efforts have seen the organisation decimated. Otoniel announced in 2017 he intended to reach an agreement to participate with the Colombian justice system The government however responded by deploying at least 1,000 soldiers to hunt him down.

Usuga Clan

He took over the leadership of the Gulf Clan -- previously known as the Usuga Clan -- from his brother de Dios. Dios was killed by police in 2012. Born to a poor family, Otoniel joined the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), a Marxist guerrilla group that demobilized in 1991.
After laying down his arms, he later returned to fighting, joining far-right paramilitary groups.
Many of these were demobilized in 2006 at the initiative of former right-wing president Alvaro Uribe's administration. Otoniel however decided to remain in the fight. Colombia is the world's top provider of cocaine, with the United States as its principal market. This is despite half a century of trying to clamp down on the drug trade.
In remote areas where there is little government presence, it's hell. Criminal groups like the Gulf Clan, dissident FARC guerrillas and leftist ELN rebels fight bloody turf battles. Mainly to control drug trafficking corridors and illegal mining operations.

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