‘You Beat Me’: Colombia’s Most-Wanted Drug Lord Caught
The man Colombia describes as the world’s most dangerous drug trafficker told security forces: “You beat me” when he was captured during an operation this weekend, the government said on Sunday, pledging to extradite him swiftly to the United States.
Dairo Antonio Usuga, known as Otoniel, was caught by Colombia’s armed forces during an operation in a rural area of Colombia’s Uraba region, Antioquia province, which involved more than 500 members of Colombia’s special forces and 22 helicopters, officials said on Saturday.
Colombia’s government will file a petition on Monday with the Andean country’s Supreme Court to extradite Otoniel to the United States, Justice Minister Wilson Ruiz told Reuters on Sunday, adding the process could take four weeks to complete.
Colombia had offered a reward of up to 3 billion pesos (about $800,000) for information concerning Otoniel’s whereabouts, while the U.S. government had put up a reward of $5 million for help locating him.
Otoniel rose to become the leader of the drug-trafficking group Clan del Golfo, or Gulf Clan, following stints as a left-wing guerrilla and later as a paramilitary.
Clan del Golfo is involved as well with illegal mining, authorities say. The government also accuses the group of threatening and killing community leaders across the country.
“A lot of Clan del Golfo’s people betrayed him,” Vargas said.
Colombian authorities launched Operation Agamemnon in 2016 as they worked to close in on Otoniel, killing and capturing dozens of his lieutenants, going after his finances and forcing him to be constantly on the move, according to police.