Colombia extradites feared Gulf clan boss to US

Colombia extradited the suspected leader of the feared Gulf clan, who was the country’s most wanted drug lord before his arrest, to the United States on Wednesday, where he will face charges in three federal courts.

Colombian President Iván Duque said Dairo Antonio Úsuga David was “only comparable to Pablo Escobar”, referring to the late former head of the Medellin drug cartel.

“Not only is he the most dangerous drug dealer in the world, but he is a killer of social leaders, a killer of boys, girls and youth, a killer of police officers,” Duque said, accompanied by Colombian military leaders whom he assigned to guard Úsuga David congratulated and capturing him in October 2021.

The former rural warlord, better known by his alias Otoniel, had remained on the run for more than a decade, corrupting state officials and allying with fighters on both the left and right. He was transferred Wednesday from a prison in Bogotá to a heavily guarded military transport airfield in handcuffs, a helmet and a bulletproof vest.

It has long been on the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s Most Wanted List. He was first charged in 2009 Manhattan Federal court on drug charges and alleged support for a far-right paramilitary group classified by the US government as a terrorist organization. Subsequent indictments in federal courts in Brooklyn and Miami accused him of importing at least 73 tons of cocaine into the United States through countries including Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Honduras between 2003 and 2014.

Úsuga Davids also cycled through the ranks of several guerrilla groups, most recently claiming to lead Colombia’s Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces after becoming a left-wing Colombian arsonist in the mid-20th century.

The Colombian government began shipping the capo after the Council of State lifted a temporary suspension of an order from Duque that favored the move. The Supreme Court dismissed a petition from a group of victims of Úsuga David who argued that his extradition would violate their rights to justice and reparations. They wanted him to face the more than 128 lawsuits against him in Colombia first. .

Duque said that from the United States, Úsuga will continue to cooperate with the Colombian authorities in the investigation against him, and once he has served his sentences for drug trafficking, he will “return to Colombia to answer for the crimes he has committed.” pay”.

The Gulf Clan assassin army terrorized much of northern Colombia in an attempt to gain control of key cocaine smuggling routes through the dense jungle north to Central America and the United States

As he defied authorities for years, his legend as a bandit grew alongside the horror stories told by Colombian authorities about the many underage women he and his cohorts allegedly sexually abused. Colombia extradites feared Gulf clan boss to US

Bobby Allyn

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