50-year-old Daira Antonio “Otoniel” Usuga David allegedly led the ruthless Colombian “Gulf clan” and before his arrest was the most wanted man in the country.
The huge operation involved 22 helicopters and years of cooperation between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Colombia’s top police officers.
It also led to the arrest of 90 suspected cartel members involved in the gang and linked to the senseless killings of hundreds of Colombian security forces.
But Usuga pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking charges when he first appeared before a federal judge on Thursday, May 5th.
Literally a few days after Usuga was taken into custody, four Colombian soldiers were killed in a bloody attack guilty of a gang crime.
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 allegations should give a clear message to drug cartel leaders around the world.
“If you trade in deadly poison; if you use violence and fear to gain power; if you are targeting law enforcement; if you have destabilized countries for the sake of your profits; 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 the prison in Bogota to the military airport, where he was handed over to American officers.
His eyes watered in a video released by police prior to his arrival in New York.
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New York Homeland Security Special Agent Ricky Patel said Usuga was a “defeated man.”
He threatened any other drug lord and said: “A person who is trying to take the position of leader of the Gulf clan cartel …
“We have a prison cell waiting for you, and you have been warned.”