NEW YORK: The chief of a distinguished Colombian legal group who pleaded responsible to US drug trafficking prices was sentenced on Tuesday (Aug 8) to 45 years in jail by a decide in Brooklyn who referred to as him “extra prolific” than the late kingpin Pablo Escobar.
In sentencing Dairo Antonio Usuga David, higher often called Otoniel, US District Decide Dora Irizarry referred to as the almost 100,000kg of cocaine he shipped to the US whereas main the Clan del Golfo cartel “extraordinary”.
She dismissed a defence declare that prosecutors engaged in “hyperbole” by likening Otoniel, 51, to Escobar, the previous Medellin cartel chief who was killed in 1993 in a joint US-Colombia operation.
“There have been many drug sellers who have been extra prolific than Pablo Escobar, together with your consumer,” Irizarry instructed Otoniel’s legal professionals.
The 45-year sentence had been requested by the US Lawyer’s Workplace in Brooklyn.
Otoniel was arrested by Colombian armed forces close to the South American nation’s border with Panama in October 2021.
He was extradited to the US in Might 2022, and pleaded responsible the next January.
Earlier than being sentenced, Otoniel apologised in court docket to his victims, and to the US and Colombian governments.
Colombia has for many years been embroiled in a battle amongst leftist rebels, right-wing paramilitaries, legal teams and the federal government.
“To the individuals and to the youth of Colombia, I counsel them and warn them to not take the trail that I’ve taken,” Otoniel mentioned via a Spanish interpreter.
Legal professionals for Otoniel had sought a jail time period of not more than 25 years, pointing to his acceptance of accountability, and to an impoverished childhood when he was pressured to battle as a toddler soldier.
However the decide mentioned “billions” of individuals had been born into comparable conditions and didn’t turn out to be cartel leaders.
“I grew up within the tasks of the South Bronx,” she mentioned. “I do know all too properly what it is wish to be raised in that atmosphere the place, each day, individuals are capturing one another on the street, individuals are dying on the street.”
Otoniel had confronted a compulsory minimal sentence of 20 years.
Clan del Golfo, or Gulf Clan, has greater than 1,000 armed males, primarily former members of right-wing paramilitary teams.
Otoniel grew to become its chief following stints as a left-wing guerrilla and later as a paramilitary.