The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York announced that Colombian national Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, known as "Otoniel," was sentenced to 45 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Dora L. Irizarry. Otoniel was accused of leading a criminal, paramilitary and drug trafficking organization known as the Clan del Golfo (CDG). He pleaded guilty to all charges.
Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias Otoniel, uno de los mayores capos del narcotráfico fue condenado en una corte de #NuevaYork y esto nos recuerda que, como sucede en la mayoría de estos casos, la justicia se hace en el país consumidor y no en donde estos personajes tienen sus dominios.… pic.twitter.com/wUK6RjtVnG
— Patricia Janiot (@patriciajaniot) August 9, 2023
"Úsuga David was also sentenced to 45 years’ imprisonment for engaging in a maritime narcotics conspiracy and 45 years’ imprisonment for engaging in a narcotics importation conspiracy. The sentences will run concurrently. As part of the sentence, the Court ordered Úsuga David to pay $216 million in forfeiture," explained the Attorney General's Office.
The office detailed that Otoniel also personally ordered CDG members to commit murders of specific individuals, including rival drug traffickers and CDG members who betrayed him or the organization. Specifically, he ordered the murder of multiple people working for a rival drug trafficking organization.
DOJ will find drug traffickers "no matter where they are"
Attorney General Merrick Garland explained that Otoniel directed the export of massive quantities of cocaine to the United States. “Otoniel led one of the largest cocaine trafficking organizations in the world, where he directed the exportation of massive amounts of cocaine to the United States and ordered the ruthless execution of Colombian law enforcement, military officials, and civilians," Garland said.
This sentence sends a clear message: the Justice Department will find and hold accountable the leaders of deadly drug trafficking organizations that harm the American people, no matter where they are and no matter how long it takes
"The human misery caused by the defendant’s incredibly violent, vengeful, and bloody reign as leader of the Clan de Golfo drug trafficking organization may never be fully calculated due to its magnitude, but today’s lengthy sentence delivers appropriate justice and sends a message to other paramilitary and cartel leaders that the United States will seek their arrest and extradition in order to hold them accountable in our courts of law," he added.
"One of the most dangerous on the planet"
On Oct. 23, 2021, Otoniel was captured by a joint force between the Colombian National Police, the Colombian Air Force and the Colombian National Army. At the time, he had more than 120 open cases for various crimes.
Colombia's then President Iván Duque reported his extradition to the United States. "He is one of the most dangerous criminals on the planet. I made a commitment to capture and extradite this criminal, and we have done so," Duque said.