Columbia captures world’s most wanted drug warlord Antonio Úsuga

Columbia captures world's most wanted drug warlord Antonio Úsuga

Colombian security authorities have apprehended Dairo Antonio Úsuga,  the country’s most sought drug trafficker, a rural warlord who had eluded detection for more than a decade by bribing state officials and associating himself with left-wing and right-wing fighters.

President Iván Duque compared Antonio Úsuga’s arrest on Saturday to Pablo Escobar’s apprehension three decades ago.

In handcuffs and wearing rubber boots worn by local farmers, Colombia’s soldiers presented Suga to the media.

Úsuga, also known by his nickname ‘Otoniel’, is the accused leader of the Gulf Clan, whose army of assassins has terrorised most of northern Colombia in order to gain control of key cocaine smuggling routes through the forests north to Central America and on to the United States.

He’s long been on the DEA’s most-wanted fugitives list, with a $5 million reward for his apprehension. In 2009, he was charged in Manhattan federal court on drugs charges and for allegedly assisting a far-right paramilitary group recognized by the US government as a terrorist organization. Later charges in federal courts in Brooklyn and Miami accused him of smuggling at least 73 metric tons of cocaine into the United States between 2003 and 2014 via Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Honduras.

Authorities claimed intelligence given by the United States and the United Kingdom led more than 500 troops and members of Colombia’s special forces to Úsuga’s forest stronghold, which was guarded by eight security rings.

His capture is a boost for the hardline Duque, whose law and order rhetoric has been no match for the country’s booming cocaine output.

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