(NEW YORK) — An alleged Colombian drug lord believed to control the “largest and most powerful cocaine trafficking and paramilitary organization in Colombia” arrived in New York Thursday to face multiple criminal charges, according to federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.
Dairo Usuga, who is also known as Otoniel, was flown from Colombia to John F. Kennedy Airport overnight and will make his initial appearance later Thursday in Brooklyn federal court where he has been accused of overseeing the production, purchase and transfer of multiton cocaine shipments from Colombia and Mexico into the United States over many years, according to court records.
Usuga was arrested in Colombia in October 2021 at the request of the United States.
“Prior to his capture by the Colombian National Police, the defendant was the principal leader of a transnational criminal organization known as the Clan del Golfo (‘CDG’), the largest and most powerful cocaine trafficking and paramilitary organization in Colombia,” prosecutors said in a March court filing.
“In furtherance of its drug trafficking activities, the CDG, at the direction of the defendant, also engaged in repeated acts of violence, including murders, assaults, kidnappings, torture and assassinations against Colombian law enforcement officers, Colombian military personnel, rival drug traffickers and paramilitaries, potential witnesses and civilians,” the filing continued.
Usuga is charged with supervising and managing a continuing criminal enterprise, international cocaine distribution conspiracy and use of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.
CDG “uses violence and intimidation to control the narcotics trafficking routes, cocaine processing laboratories, speedboat departure points, and clandestine landing strips,” according to the State Department.
During a turf war with a rival criminal organization for drug trafficking routes, homicides shot up 443% over two years, according to the federal government.
Prior to his capture, the State Department had been offering a reward of $5 million.
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