The “world’s most feared” drug lord has been captured in a daring armed raid which led to the death of one police officer.
Colombia’s most-wanted drug lord has been captured by authorities after a nearly five year long operation. Cops have likened his capture to that of infamous coke kingpin Pablo Escobar.
Dairo Antonio Usuga, known as Otoniel, was said to be responsible for the murder of policemen, soldiers, and community leaders, and was known to recruit children into his criminal cocaine empire.
Otoniel led the ‘Clan del Golfo’ drug cartel which the US State Department calls “heavily armed and extremely violent”.
The 50-year-old cartel boss was captured in an operation that involved a raid on his heavily-defended jungle compound in Colombia’s Uraba region.
After stints as a leftwing guerrilla and a paramilitary, he rose to become the leader of the criminal gang Clan del Golfo, or Gulf Clan. The gang has about 1,200 armed men – most of them former far-right paramilitaries – and is present in 10 of Colombia’s 32 provinces.
Authorities said intelligence provided by the US and UK led more than 500 soldiers and members of Colombia’s special forces to Otoniel’s jungle hideout, which was protected by a “eight rings of security”, the Guardian reports.
In a televised national address over the weekend, Colombia’s president Iván Duque Márquez confirmed the capture.
He said: “This is the biggest blow against drug trafficking in our country this century.
“It’s a big deal because he’s the biggest drug kingpin in Colombia. [But] Otoniel is bound to be replaced.”
He ended his address by saying: “To all criminals and narco traffickers: either you surrender, or we will come and get you.”