Colombia extradited alleged Gulf Clan leader Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, known as Otoniel, to the United States on Wednesday, Colombian President Iván Duque said.
According to Duque, Otoniel is the most dangerous drug trafficker globally, comparable only to Pablo Escobar, and is a murderer of police officers and abuser of children and adolescents.
According to AP, Otoniel was captured in October 2021 after being on the run for more than a decade,
He was on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s most wanted list and had cases pending in three federal courts until his capture.
His first indictment was in Manhattan federal court in 2009 for assisting a paramilitary group considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
He then had indictments in federal courts in Miami and Brooklyn for bringing more than 73 metric tons of cocaine into the U.S. between 2013 and 2014, through countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala and Panama.
The extradition ordered by Duque was suspended because a group of Otoniel’s victims petitioned for a stay on the grounds that the extradition violated their rights to justice and reparations.
The group wanted Otoniel to face over 128 trials he has in Colombia.
The extradition was carried out because the Council of State lifted the existing provisional suspension.
President Duque wanted to reassure the Colombian victims and tweeted,
“Once he serves his sentences in the U.S., he will return to pay for the crimes he committed in Colombia and must collaborate with justice. This extradition shows that no one is above the Colombian state; the rule of law will always be above any criminal,” Duque wrote.
On Thursday morning, he also shared on twitter a video with a strong message to the drug traffickers operating in Colombia…
“The extradition of alias “Otoniel” is the most important triumph of legality and a demonstration that no one is above the law in our country. Let those who want to follow in the footsteps of this criminal know: either they submit to the authorities or they will suffer the same fate,” says the Colombian president’s tweet.
According to Reuters, Colombian authorities report that Otoniel trafficked between 180 and 200 tons of cocaine annually with the Gulf Clan.