Extradited to the United States, Colombian “Otoniel” pleads not guilty to international drug trafficking

Colombia’s biggest drug trafficker, “Otoniel,” head of the Gulf Clan Cartel, pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn to charges of international cocaine trafficking against him after his extradition to the United States.

Dairo Antonio Usuga David, alias Otoniel, 50, was notably charged with directing a criminal enterprise between June 2003 and October 2021 and with international association of criminals with a view to manufacturing and distributing cocaine with the intention of illegally exporting to the United States, Brooklyn federal prosecutor Breon Peace said earlier.

He appeared before Federal Judge Vera M. Scalon handcuffed and dressed in an orange jumpsuit like inmates wear in US prisons. The judge decided to remand him in custody and the next hearing was set for June 2. During a press conference which took place shortly before the hearing, the prosecutor mentioned “one of the most dangerous and wanted drug kingpins in the world”. “He oversaw an army of minions who murdered, kidnapped and tortured victims, including members of Colombia’s law enforcement and military”added Breon Peace.

The United States accuses Dairo Antonio Usuga David and the Gulf Clan of illegally smuggling dozens of tons of cocaine. He was Colombia’s most wanted person until he was arrested last October in the northwest of the country after a massive military operation.

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