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DEA’s Most Wanted Fugitive, a Columbian Drug Lord, Captured by Military Forces

Dairo Antonio Úsuga was captured in Columbia. Photo: DEA

By Steve Neavling

Dairo Antonio Úsuga, Columbia’s most-wanted drug lord who was also targeted by the U.S. for cocaine trafficking, was arrested in a jungle hideout by military forces.  

President Iván Duque on Saturday announced the arrest of Úsuga, 50, who is widely known by his alias, Otoniel, The New York Times reports.

He is expected to be extradited to the U.S.

Duque compared the arrest to the capture of Pablo Escobar three decades ago. 

“This is the heaviest blow that has been dealt to drug trafficking in this century in our country,” Duque said in a national address. “This blow is comparable only to the fall of Pablo Escobar in the 1990s.”

Úsuga, who was long on the DEA’s most-wanted fugitives list, was on the run for more than a decade. The DEA was offering a $5 million reward for his capture. 

He’s accused of leading the brutal Clan del Golfo, a band of assassins who gained control of cocaine smuggling routes in northern Columbia. 

With Úsuga in custody, investigators could begin to understand the inner workings of the clandestine criminal organization. 

“His arrest also represents a major victory for Colombia’s security forces, which are confronting growing public mistrust over allegations of human rights abuses, soaring coca cultivation, and rising crime and violence,” Paul J. Angelo, a fellow for Latin America studies at the Council on Foreign Relations said in an email to The New York Times. 


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