Crime & Justice

Colombia extradites accused drug trafficker Otoniel to US

Bogotá, May 4 (EFE).- Accused Colombian drug trafficker and leader of the Clan del Golfo (Gulf Clan) criminal group, Dairo Antonio Úsuga, was extradited Wednesday to the United States, President Iván Duque announced.

“Colombians, I want to inform you that Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias ‘Otoniel,’ has been extradited. This criminal is only comparable to Pablo Escobar and is not only the most dangerous drug trafficker in the world, but also a murderer of social leaders, an abuser of children and adolescents, murderer of police officers,” the president said in a statement.

Otoniel, 50 and arrested in October after a seven-year manhunt, was transferred from police headquarters in Bogotá to the Catam military airfield attached to El Dorado International Airport.

There he boarded a plane and was handed over to US authorities, according to images released by the Colombian government in which the he appears handcuffed and with his head down.

The head of the Clan del Golfo, the largest drug cartel in Colombia, is wanted by the US to face charges related to drug trafficking.

The extradition was possible after Colombia’s highest administrative court lifted a precautionary measure granted last week to victims’ organizations, mainly from the department of Chocó, who wanted to halt the extradition, believing Otoniel should first answer for his crimes at home.

After his capture, he gave several statements before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace tribunal and provided more than 60 names of soldiers, politicians, officials and companies that allegedly had dealings with the paramilitaries.

For this reason, various sectors said Otoniel should not be extradited so quickly to the US, since holds valuable information about crimes of the long-running conflict.

“What an impressive desire of the government to extradite the truth of Otoniel to the USA. Scared to death. Colombians have the right to know who are the accomplices of all their crimes,” former interior minister Juan Fernando Cristo wrote on Twitter.

However, Duque said that the extradition will not prevent Otoniel’s crimes from going unpunished in the country, since he “must continue collaborating with the Colombian authorities that require it in their investigations,” and once justice has been completed in the US, “he will return to Colombia to pay for the crimes he committed in our country.” EFE


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