Crime & Justice

Colombia extradites sister of Clan del Golfo leader to US

Bogota, Jul 1 (EFE).- Colombian authorities on Friday extradited the sister of the alleged leader of the Clan del Golfo crime gang to the United States, where she is wanted for laundering proceeds from drug trafficking, the National Police said in a statement.

The 39-year-old Nini Johana Usuga David, alias “La Negra,” is accused of belonging to a transnational drug-trafficking organization and also of “bolstering the illicit revenues” that the Clan del Golfo – Colombia’s most powerful criminal outfit – received from the drug trade, that law enforcement agency added.

“Alias ‘La Negra’ was responsible for giving a veneer of legality – via the laundering of assets – to the money derived from this criminal gang’s drug trafficking,” the statement added.

She also is alleged to have served as a liaison who coordinated the shipment of drugs from Colombia to other countries.

The National Police recalled that Usuga was arrested in 2013 at a rural property near the northwestern Colombian city of Medellin in possession of 23 billion pesos ($5.5 million at the current exchange rate) in “illegal revenues from the criminal gang of her brother,” Dairo Antonio Usuga David, known as “Otoniel.”

“La Negra” escaped from prison after fabricated documents ordered her release, but she was recaptured in March 2021 on charges of criminal conspiracy, illegal firearms possession, prison break, falsification of public documents and procedural fraud.

“Otoniel,” who was captured last October, was extradited in May to New York City, where he faces charges that include participating in “an international conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine, knowing and intending that the narcotics would be illegally imported into the United States.”

If convicted, the defendant faces a minimum sentence of 20 years behind bars and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Besides “Otoniel” and his sister, Colombian authorities have arrested several other members of the Usuga David family.

They include Carlos Mario Usuga David, brother of “Otoniel” and the then-“finance chief” of the Clan del Golfo; and three of the gang leader’s cousins: Luis Angel Usuga Murillo, Alexander Montoya Usuga and Harlison Usuga Usuga.

“Otoniel” initially was a member of the Popular Liberation Army (ELP), a guerrilla group with a Maoist orientation, but later joined the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), formerly Colombia’s largest far-right paramilitary organization.

He then founded Los Urabeños – a neo-paramilitary group that would come to be known as Clan del Golfo – following the AUC’s demobilization.

“Otoniel” had been the target of an intense manhunt since 2015 in the northwestern Colombian region of Uraba, a two-phase operation known as “Agamenon” that involved thousands of police and soldiers and led to the deaths or arrests of dozens of men under his command and the seizure of tons of cocaine. EFE


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