A drug lord named “Otoniel” faces an American court after a Drug Enforcement Agency mission of 500 soldiers captured him while hiding in the jungle – but the alleged brutal killer pleaded not guilty
A Colombian drug lord accused of trafficking a whopping $2 billion worth of cocaine and stabbed after an operation involving 500 soldiers has claimed he is innocent.
Dairo Antonio “Otoniel” Úsuga David, 50, is believed to have led Colombia’s ruthless “Gulf Clan” and was the country’s most wanted person before his arrest.
The massive operation involved 22 helicopters and years of collaboration between the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and top Colombian police officers.
It also led to the arrests of 90 suspected cartel members involved in the gang and linked to the senseless killings of hundreds of Columbia security guards.
But Úsuga pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking charges when he first appeared before a federal judge on Thursday, May 5.
Just days after Úsuga’s arrest, four Colombian soldiers were killed in a bloody attack blamed on the gang.
The Gulf clan is credited with producing a whopping 30 percent of all cocaine exported from the South American country.
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram held a press conference before the drug lord appeared in court.
She told reporters: “The indictments should send a clear message to drug cartel leaders around the world.
“If you deal in deadly poison; when you use violence and fear to gain power; if you target law enforcement; when you have destabilized countries for your profit; and if you run a drug cartel that harms the safety, health and security of the American people, the Drug Enforcement Administration will stop at nothing to bring you to justice.”
A convoy of five bulletproof police vehicles transported the powerful drug lord from a prison in Bogotá to a military airport, where he was handed over to American officers.
His eyes were tearing from the back of the security van in video released by police before it arrived in New York.
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Homeland Security Investigations’ special agent in New York, Ricky Patel, said Úsuga was “a defeated man.”
He threatened any remaining drug lords, saying, “To the person trying to take over leadership of the Gulf Clan cartel…
“We have a prison cell waiting for you and you have been warned.”