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Dairo Antonio Úsuga, 51, pleaded guilty last January to three charges: running a criminal organization, drug trafficking, and conspiracy to distribute narcotics on U.S. soil.
Colombian drug trafficker Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias "Otoniel," was sentenced on Tuesday in the U.S. to 45 years in prison on each of the three drug trafficking charges to which he pleaded guilty. He will serve them concurrently.
Judge Dora Irizarry of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn imposed the sentence requested by the prosecution. The sentence includes the payment of $216 million in restitution. According to the judge, this is "one of the most serious cases in terms of drug trafficking activity" she has handled in her career.
Otoniel, 51, pleaded guilty to three charges last January: running a criminal organization, drug trafficking and conspiracy to distribute narcotics on U.S. soil. His defense sought to have him spend less than 25 years in prison, arguing that his client had grown up in unfavorable conditions.
Irizarry rejected this argument, pointing out that an adverse environment was no excuse for committing a crime. According to the judge, the violence caused by the Gulf Clan had a great impact in the U.S., leaving many dead and a lot of violence "also among children and young people."
For its part, the U.S. Justice Department said that "Otoniel ran one of the largest cocaine trafficking organizations in the world, where he directed the export of massive quantities of cocaine to the United States and ordered the ruthless execution of Colombian law enforcement agents, military officials and civilians."
#Judicial El ex jefe del Clan del Golfo, Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias Otoniel fue condenado en Estados Unidos a 45 de prisión por narcotráfico. El extraditado paramilitar entregó lista de políticos, militares y policías que recibían dinero de esa organización. Foto:@Agencia_APIpic.twitter.com/571E49GPpF
The tweet reads, "The former head of the Clan del Golfo, Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias Otoniel, was sentenced in the United States to 45 years in prison for drug trafficking. The extradited paramilitary gave a list of politicians, military and police officers who received money from the organization."
Otoniel was the former top leader of the Clan del Golfo (CDG) between 2012 and 2021, a terrorist, paramilitary and drug trafficking organization accused of being one of the largest distributors of cocaine in the world.
He was arrested on October 23, 2021, in the department of Antioquia, near the border with Panama. A few weeks later, the U.S. requested his extradition for drug trafficking and arms trafficking offenses, as well as various murder charges, among others. He was transferred to the United States on May 4 last year.
The Colombian justice system also accuses Úsuga of murder, terrorism, recruitment of minors, kidnapping and sex crimes, among other crimes he committed as a guerrilla and paramilitary before becoming Colombia's most wanted drug trafficker.