A Columbian drug lord who is accused of trafficking cocaine worth a whopping two billion dollars and was stung after an operation involving 500 soldiers has claimed he is innocent.
Dairo Antonio 'Otoniel' Úsuga David, 50, allegedly headed Colombia's ruthless “Gulf Clan” and was the most wanted person in the country before his arrest.
The huge operation involved 22 helicopters and years of cooperation between America’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and top Columbian cops.
It also led to the arrest of 90 suspected cartel members who were involved in the gang and linked to the senseless murders of hundreds of Columbia’s security forces.
But Úsuga pled not guilty to drug trafficking charges as he made his first appearance before a federal judge on Thursday May 5.
Just days after Úsuga was taken into custody, four Columbian soldiers were killed in a bloody attack blamed on the gang.
The Gulf Clan has been credited with producing a whopping 30 percent of all the cocaine exported from the South American country.
DEA administrator Anne Milgram held a press conference before the drug lord appeared in court.
She told reporters: “The charges should send a clear message to the leaders of drug cartels around the world.
“If you traffic deadly poison; if you use violence and fear to gain power; if you target law enforcement; if you destabilized countries for your profit; and if you run a drug cartel that harms the safety, health and security of the American people, then the Drug Enforcement Administration will stop at nothing to bring you to justice.”
A convoy made up of five bulletproof police vehicles transported the powerful drug lord from a prison in Bogotá to a military airport, where he was given to the American officers.
His eyes watered from the back of the security transport in a video released by cops before he arrived in New York.
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Homeland Security Investigations special agent in New York, Ricky Patel, said Úsuga was “a defeated man”.
He threatened any remaining drug lords and said: “To the individual who attempts to take over as leader of the Gulf Clan cartel…
“We have a jail cell waiting for you and you've been warned.”
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