Colombian Coke Capo Will Have A Lot Of Company If Extradited To The United States.
If Dairo Antonio Usuga, the Colombian cocaine trafficking boss, gets extradited to the United States, he may find himself in a lot of familiar company: several members of his Gulf Clan cartel, including family members, have already made the journey.
Colombian officials announced the capture of Usuga, dubbed “Otoniel,” whose organization in northern Colombia is suspected of shipping more than a hundred tonnes of cocaine throughout the world in the last two decades.
The US has a $5 million reward on Otoniel’s head, and is expected to pursue his extradition. Otoniel was first indicted 11 years ago.
After a long campaign by US and Colombian authorities to bring down the homicidal organization, a constant stream of “Clan del Golfo” commanders and operatives have already faced courts in the United States.
Usuga, 50, was first charged in New York in 2009 as a mere helper to Daniel Rendon-Herrera, the leader of a lesser cocaine ring.
Their gang, known as Los Urabenos for the region near the Panama border where they operated, grew after the US assisted Colombia in taking down rival traffickers, Los Rastrojos, in 2012.
Following the 2009 capture of previous Colombian cartel head Rendon-Herrera, Usuga had cemented leadership of the major Colombian cartel by 2015, according to indictments made in New York and Miami.
The Gulf Clan was notorious for a slew of gruesome murders of competitors as well as smuggling tons of drugs into international markets.
Usuga, Rendon-Herrera, and their cartel had been ranked among the world’s “top transnational organized criminal threats” in Washington, and a $5 million reward had been announced for Usuga.
Between 2003 and 2012, the charges accused the two, together with 15 co-defendants, of trafficking 73 tonnes of cocaine to the United States.
They were also charged with additional murders of rival drug gang leaders and members outside the United States, based on the theory of “extraterritorial jurisdiction.”
When Otoniel was the cartel’s only boss, Rendon-Herrera was extradited to the United States in 2018.
Under Usuga, however, the Gulf Clan’s demise had begun. His gang members were apprehended one by one, many of them were family members, and extradited to the United States for trial.
Henry de Jesus Lopez Londono, a key Gulf Clan official, was sentenced to 31 years in a US jail in 2018.
In December 2019, Joaquin Guillermo David-Usuga, one of Otoniel’s cousins and a “ranking member” of the clan, was extradited to Houston, Texas. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.