The Colombian government is planning to extradite the captured drug lord Dairo Antonio Usuga, also known as Otoniel, who is the head of the “Gulf Clan” (Clan del Golfo), to the United States, Defense Minister Diego Molano says.
Molano told the El Tiempo newspaper that the next step following the capture of the most-wanted drug trafficker in Colombia is to comply with the request for extradition by the US authorities.
Otoniel has more than 100 lawsuits filed against him in Colombia and he was also on the Interpol red list and on the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s most wanted list. The United States had reportedly placed a $5 million bounty on his head.
Colombian President Ivan Duque said in a public address broadcast on Twitter on Saturday that the capture of Otoniel was a major blow to drug trafficking and was comparable to the fall of drug lord Pablo Escobar in the 1990s.
Otoniel was captured in Necocli, Antioquia Department, as part of special operation Osiris conducted jointly by the police and the military with the support of agencies in the US and the United Kingdom, according to Duque. The drug lord was then transferred by plane to Colombia’s capital, Bogota.
The president called on the remaining members of the Gulf Clan to turn themselves in or face the same fate as that of Otoniel.
According to Molano, the capture of the Gulf Clan’s leader means that the government has achieved victory over drug trafficking in the country, since the clan had been responsible for most of Colombia’s exports and distribution of cocaine.
Last year, Colombia had 143,000 hectares of illegal coca plantations and the country remains the world’s top producer of coca, according to the United Nations.