First modification: 25/11/2021 – 17:50Last modification: 25/11/2021 – 17:48
Bogotá (AFP) – Colombia received a request from the United States to hand over “Otoniel”, the powerful drug lord captured in October, after which it is only waiting for the judicial authorization to make his extradition effective, President Iván Duque said on Thursday.
“The national government has already formally received the request for the extradition of alias ‘Otoniel’ by the United States” and it was made available “to the Supreme Court of Justice,” Duque told the media.
Since the capture of Darío Antonio Úsuga, the real name of the drug lord, the president has expressed interest in his being tried in the United States. Courts in Miami and New York require it for drug trafficking.
The Colombian government hopes “to speed up this process and to proceed with the extradition of this dangerous criminal,” Duque added.
“Otoniel” led the so-called Clan del Golfo, the group that controls 30% of Colombia’s cocaine production (about 300 tons), the largest producer of that drug in the world, according to authorities.
Its criminal network extends to 28 countries where it operates in alliance with Mexican mafias.
In 2017, the 50-year-old capo had announced his intention to negotiate his submission to justice, but the negotiation fell apart and Úsuga continued to commit crimes, congregating thousands of men in his own army.
The authorities responded with a fierce persecution in the jungle near Panama, where he was arrested on October 23.
The independent study center Indepaz estimates his power foot at 1,600 men. The authorities estimate that there would be 3,800 members among combatants and collaborators.
Held in a Bogotá jail, “Otoniel” is exposed to a sentence of up to 30 years, according to experts consulted by AFP.
The Colombian justice also requires it for homicide, terrorism, recruitment of minors and kidnapping, among other crimes that he would have committed when he was a guerrilla and paramilitary before becoming the most wanted drug trafficker in the country.
If he is finally convicted in the United States, he will have to pay later for his crimes in Colombia.
Despite the fact that the United States has supported Colombia in almost half a century of fighting drugs, the country still suffers from the violence sponsored by this illegal business, which leaves thousands of victims.
Several drug lords have been extradited and convicted in the United States since the 1900s, without this having meant the end of the mafias.
© 2021 AFP