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The leader of Colombia’s largest criminal gang and drug trafficker has been arrested.  The drug lord Dairo Antonio Usuga is popularly known as Otoniel. His capture on Sunday is a joint effort by the police, army and air force.

The government had offered to reward $800,000 to anyone who provides information about his whereabouts. Elsewhere, the United States of America had place a $5 million bounty on his head.


President Ivan Duque was happy about the drug lord’s capture.


“This is the biggest blow against drug trafficking in our country this century,” the president said in a video message.


“This blow is only comparable to the fall of Pablo Escobar in the 1990s.”


Otoniel was captured in his hideout in Antioquia province located to the north-western of Colombia. His rural hideout is located close to the border with Panama. The president revealed that one police officer was killed during the operation to capture the drug lord.


Colombia’s armed forces released a photo of its soldiers guarding Otoniel, 50, who was in handcuffs. The operation is alleged to have involved thousands of security officers.


Otoniel was the leader of the Gulf Clan which was earlier on known as Usuga Clan named after its previous leader (his brother) who was killed by the police during a new year eve celebrations some 10 years ago.


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The security personnel named the gang as the most powerful criminal enterprise in Colombia. Authorities in the United States of America describe the Gulf Clan as “heavily armed and extremently violent.”


The gang has extrensive connections globally and operates in many provinces of Colombia. They largely engage in smuggling people and trafficking drugs. Other activities they engage in are extortion as well as illegal gold mining.


The Gulf Clan is believed to have an excess of 1,800 members mostly recruited from the far-right paramilitary groups in Colombia. Its members have been arrested in many countries such as Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Honduras.


The Colombian government believes that they have crushed the Gulf Clan in recent years forcing the most prominent leaders to hide in remote rural areas in the jungle.


Otoniel will now face numerous charges including shipments of Cocaine to the United States of America, murder of police officer and recruitment of children to work for the Gulf Clan.  In 2009, the drug lord was indicated in the United States of America and is facing extradition proceedings which means he might appear in court in New York.


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