“Othoniel”: Colombian drug lord pleads guilty in US court

The once powerful leader of her dreaded Clan del Golfo gang ColombiaThe “Othniel“, who was extradited to the US in May 2022, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of international cocaine trafficking in New York, where he faces up to life in prison.

At the end of a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn, Mr Dairo Antonio Usuga Davidor Othoniel, 51, read a written statement in which he admitted to arranging the transportation of more than 96 tons of cocaine to the U.S. through Central America and Mexico.

After he further confessed that, in the context of his “military work”, “murders were committed” by members of his organization, which has up to 6,000 members, admitted that his gang “guaranteed the security of drug labs and traffickers and levied taxes” on cocaine passing through territories under its control.

“When convicted, Usuga David will serve from the minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years in prison to life in prison. As part of his plea deal, he also accepted a forfeiture order 216 million dollars» that he secured from his illegal activity, he said Brion Peacethe Brooklyn federal prosecutor.

Othoniel, leader since 2012 of the gang that established residual forces of far-right paramilitary organizations, pleaded guilty to years of running a criminal organization, conspiracy to manufacture and supply cocaineand for conspiracy to traffic cocaine by sea, a charge that was included in an indictment against him in federal court in Florida.

His extradition in May 2022, seven months after his arrest in Colombia, sparked bloody campaign of retaliation, a series of police killings in his country. But — after the election of Gustavo Petros, the country’s first left-wing president in history, who wants to negotiate with all armed groups to end the Latin American nation’s six-decade civil war — Othoniel ordered the members of his gang to end this killing spree. According to the DEA, the US drug enforcement agency, the Gulf Cartel cooperated with the Mexican cartels Sinaloa and New Generation of Jalisco to smuggle drugs into US territory.

According to the same source, 90% of the drugs available on the US market come from Colombia and are often mixed with fentanyl, a powerful and extremely deadly substance added by Mexican cartels.

In 2021, the US recorded 108,000 overdose deaths, a tragic record.

Source: RES-MPE

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