Colombia’s most needed drug lord captured | Latest News Table

Colombia’s most needed drug lord captured

Safety forces in Colombia have captured Dairo Antonio Usuga, the nation’s most needed drug trafficker.

Higher referred to as Otoniel, the 50-year-old was arrested on Saturday throughout an operation in a rural space of Colombia’s Uraba area, positioned in Antioquia province.

Pictures circulating on social media present Otoniel handcuffed together with his face planted to the bottom.

President Ivan Duque likened his arrest to the seize three many years in the past of Pablo Escobar, the famed Colombian narco-trafficking kingpin.

Duque mentioned Otoniel is accused of sending dozens of shipments of cocaine to the USA, in addition to of killing law enforcement officials, recruiting minors, and sexually abusing kids amongst different crimes.

Colombia had provided a reward of as much as 3 billion pesos (about $800,000) for data regarding Otoniel’s whereabouts, whereas the US authorities had put up a reward of $5m for assist finding him.

“That is the most important blow towards drug trafficking in our nation this century,” Duque mentioned throughout a broadcast video message. “This blow is just corresponding to the autumn of Pablo Escobar within the Nineteen Nineties.”

One police officer died in the course of the operation, the president mentioned.

Otoniel rose to turn into the chief of the drug trafficking group the Clan del Golfo, or Gulf Clan, following stints as a left-wing guerrilla and later as a paramilitary.

Clan del Golfo has round 1,200 armed males – the bulk former members of far-right paramilitary teams – and is current in 10 of Colombia’s 32 provinces.

In addition to drug trafficking, Clan del Golfo is concerned with unlawful mining, authorities say. The federal government additionally accuses the group of threatening and killing group leaders throughout the nation.

‘Sure to get replaced’

Although Duque mentioned Otoniel’s seize represented the top of the Clan del Golfo, Colombia Threat Evaluation director Sergio Guzman mentioned a brand new chief would certainly be ready to take over.

“It’s an enormous deal as a result of he’s the most important drug kingpin in Colombia,” Guzman informed the Reuters information company, including that the seize wouldn’t change the basics of drug trafficking.

“Otoniel is certain to get replaced.”

Colombian authorities had stepped up their efforts to seize Otoniel in 2016, killing and capturing dozens of his lieutenants, going after his funds and forcing him to be continually on the transfer, in accordance with the police.

Leaks and a community of secure homes at rural homesteads allowed him for years to withstand the navy’s scorched-earth marketing campaign.

However the struggle was taking its toll on the fugitive, who even whereas on the run insisted on sleeping on orthopedic mattresses to ease a again damage.

In 2017, he confirmed his face for the primary time from time to time of Pope Francis’ go to to the nation, publishing a video wherein he requested for his group be allowed to put down its weapons and demobilise as a part of the nation’s peace course of with the much-larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The plan by no means got here to fruition, nevertheless.

Authorities mentioned intelligence supplied by the US and UK led greater than 500 troopers and members of Colombia’s particular forces to Otoniel’s jungle hideout, which was protected by an eight rings of safety.

It was “the most important penetration of the jungle ever seen within the navy historical past of our nation”, Duque mentioned.

His arrest is one thing of a lift for the conservative president, whose legislation and order rhetoric has been no match for hovering manufacturing of cocaine.

Land devoted to the manufacturing of coca – the uncooked ingredient of cocaine – jumped 16 % final 12 months to a file 245,000 hectares, a stage unseen in 20 years of US eradication efforts, in accordance with a White Home report.

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