Dairo Antonio Usuga David, a frontrunner within the Gulf Clan, has admitted to overseeing an unlimited community of legal operations.
Infamous Colombian drug trafficker Dairo Antonio Usuga David, known merely as Otoniel, has been sentenced to 45 years in jail by a federal decide in the USA.
Otoniel had beforehand pleaded responsible to prices of drug distribution and working a legal enterprise in a court docket in Brooklyn, New York.
Throughout Tuesday’s sentencing, the 51-year-old admitted his accountability in working an unlimited community of legal operations and cocaine smuggling, as chief of the violent paramilitary group referred to as the Clan del Golfo or the Gulf Clan cartel.
“I apologise to the governments of the USA and of Colombia and to the victims of the crimes that I’ve dedicated,” Usuga stated via a court docket interpreter.
The US Legal professional’s Workplace in Brooklyn had requested the 45-year sentence, saying Usuga had led a “terrorist and paramilitary organisation” for practically twenty years and opted to not demobilise via a government-led peace course of.
“He ordered the killing, kidnapping, and torture of rivals, in addition to people he believed have been cooperating with legislation enforcement,” the US Legal professional’s Workplace in Brooklyn stated in court docket papers. “The defendant’s want for management and revenge merely can’t be overstated.”
Usuga’s defence, in the meantime, solid him as a former baby soldier from a poverty-stricken background whose world view was solid amid practically 60 years of battle in Colombia. They’d requested a jail time period of not more than 25 years.
“Having been born right into a area of nice battle, I grew up inside this battle,” Usuga stated in court docket, advising younger folks “to not take the trail that I’ve taken”.
“We should always depart armed conflicts previously,” he added.
However US District Choose Dora Irizarry shot again that atmosphere was not an excuse, citing her personal upbringing in public housing within the South Bronx. She advised Usuga he had possibilities “to go away this life behind — and also you didn’t”.
Otoniel had been probably the most wished drug traffickers on this planet when he was arrested by Colombian authorities in October 2021 after eluding seize for years. He was extradited to the US in Might 2022 on the situation that he wouldn’t be given a life sentence.
Authorities stated that beneath his management, the Gulf Clan had introduced violence and exploitation to areas of northern Colombia, utilizing brutal power to manage main cocaine-smuggling routes.
Prosecutors additional alleged Usuga ordered killings of perceived enemies — together with a sufferer who was tortured, buried alive and beheaded. They are saying he put bounties on the heads of police and troopers in addition to members of rival gangs.
The US Legal professional’s Workplace additionally accused Usaga of asserting brutality over the general public at massive, ordering a days-long “strike” after his brother was killed in a police raid. Those that refused to remain at house, prosecutors stated, have been threatened with dying.
Throughout his court docket hearings, Usaga admitted to perpetrating lethal violence. “In navy work, homicides have been dedicated,” he stated, including that there “was loads of violence with the guerrillas and the legal gangs”.
He additionally spoke about his function within the drug commerce. “Tonnes of cocaine have been moved with my permission or at my path,” Usaga advised the court docket in January.
The kinfolk of victims allegedly slain at his command additionally testified. “The harm that this man named Otoniel has prompted to our household is unfathomable,” the household of late police officer Milton Eliecer Flores Arcila wrote to the court docket.
The widow of Officer John Gelber Rojas Colmenares, killed in 2017, additionally testified that Usuga “took away the prospect I had of rising previous with the love of my life”.
The Gulf Clan is among the many assortment of leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitary teams, narco-traffickers and legal gangs which have contributed to a long time of violence in Colombia.
The federal government has just lately sought to signal peace accords with many armed teams and attain phrases for ceasefires with legal gangs, nevertheless it has struggled to utterly stem a posh battle rooted in rural poverty and a scarcity of alternatives.
On August 3, a six-month ceasefire between the Colombian authorities and the nation’s largest remaining armed insurgent group, the Nationwide Liberation Military (ELN), went into impact.