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High profile Colombian drug lord Otoniel arrested

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High profile Colombian drug lord Otoniel arrested
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Image Credit: Reuters

A joint operation between Colombian police, army and air force has resulted in the capture and arrest of Dairo Antonio Úsuga aka 'Otoniel', one of Colombia's most wanted drug lords, with a bounty of $5 million on his head placed by the US government. Otoniel was captured in his rural hideout in Antioquia province in north-western Colombia, close to the border with Panama.

President Iván Duque hailed Otoniel's capture in a televised video message in which he also revealed that one police officer had been killed in the encounter. He claimed it was the "biggest blow against drug trafficking in our country this century," and compared it to the fall of Pablo Escobar in the 1990s.

Otoniel is the head of the Usuga clan that engages in global drug and people smuggling, illegal gold mining and extortion. The gang has been described as "extremely violent" and boasts about 1,800 armed members who are mainly recruited from far-right paramilitary groups. Members have been arrested as far away as Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, Peru and Spain.

Reports suggest the drug lord may be extradited to the US where he was indicted in 2009.

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TAGS:drugs case Colombia USA FBI Military Police Army Operation smuggling Human trafficking 
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