Colombia’s Supreme Court has approved the extradition of Otaniel, the leader of the country’s largest gang to the US.
Dairo Antonio Úsuga, better known as Otoniel, led Colombia’s biggest drug cartel for years and is wanted in the US on drug trafficking charges.
He was arrested in October 2021 by Colombia’s special forces and his arrest was compared to the fall of Pablo Escobar by President Iván Duque. Before his arrest he was chased for seven years.
Colombia’s Justice Minister Wilson Ruiz had pledged to extradite Otoniel to the US after his capture last year, following the request by Justice Department officials in Washington in 2021.
“Extradition awaits all those who commit international crimes,” Defence Minister Diego Molano said at the time.
But Otaniel’s lawyers had argued that he should have been included in a special tribunal where participants in Colombia’s six-decade internal conflict between government forces and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) rebels can receive different sentences for confessing their participation.
His layers claimed Otaniel, 50, was willing to reveal some details of collaboration between central government officials and illegal armed groups in exchange for preventing his extradition.
Prior to his capture, Otoniel was Colombia’s most wanted man and the government had offered a $800,000 (£582,000) reward for information about his whereabouts, while the US had placed a $5m bounty on his head.