6 dead, 180 vehicles destroyed after Colombian drug kingpin extradited to US
Bogotá, May 8 (EFE).- A series of armed attacks across northern Colombia by the Gulf Clan criminal gang, which has enforced a curfew in retaliation for the extradition of its top leader to the United States, has left at least six people dead and 180 vehicles destroyed, authorities said on Sunday,
The defense ministry said the attacks by the gang, also known as the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC), killed three civilians, a police officer, and two soldiers.
The Gulf Clan had announced an armed strike, from last Thursday until Tuesday, against the extradition of former leader Dairo Antonio Usuga, known as Otoniel, to the United States,
The group had threatened to carry out armed strikes to restrict the movement of vehicles and residents on highways even if they go in caravans escorted by the army.
The Gulf Clan warned people not to open businesses or leave their homes when the curfew was in force in parts of Colombia’s northern Magdalena and Bolivar provinces.
Since the beginning of the armed strike, the authorities have arrested 92 people, including Pedro, one of the top leaders of the Gulf Clan in the department of Magdalena.
Likewise, 37 raids have been carried out in which 12 firearms, 481 cartridges, 23 cell phones, and more than 50 million pesos (about $12,000) have been seized.
Otoniel, considered by Colombian President Iván Duque as dangerous as Pablo Escobar, was extradited on Wednesday to face charges in the US for drug-trafficking crimes.
He pleaded not guilty on Thursday to a federal judge in New York.
The drug kingpin was captured in October after a seven-year manhunt. Colombia’s Supreme Court approved his extradition to the US in March.
“This extradition shows nobody is above the Colombian state,” President Duque said in a video message, accusing Otoniel of murdering civil society leaders and police officers.
Otoniel was Colombia’s most wanted man before his arrest.
The government had offered an $800,000-reward for information about his whereabouts. The US had placed a $5-million bounty on his head.
He is also accused of leading a criminal enterprise between 2003 and October 2021, when he was captured, and of “participating in an international conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine to be illegally imported into the United States. EFE