Colombian authorities on Saturday said they captured Dario Antonio Usuga David, alias Otoniel, the head of the Clan Del Golfo and the country's most wanted trafficker.
The 50-year-old was captured by a joint force comprising the army, aviation and the National Police in the region of Uraba in the department of Antioquia in Colombia's north west, authorities said.
"This the hardest blow ... to drug trafficking this century in our country," President Ivan Duque said in a press conference the arrest was "only comparable to the capture of Pablo Escobar," the drug lord killed in a shootout with police in 1993.
"Alias Otoniel was the most feared drug lord in the world, a murderer of police, soldiers, local activists," Duque said.
"This is the end of the Clan Del Golfo," the president added, calling on remaining members of the criminal organization to hand themselves in or "feel the full weight of the law."
Duque said that, "given the dangerousness of this criminal," information was shared with US and British agencies.
Luis Fernando Navarro, general commander of the Military Forces of Colombia, said that the operation, which started on Friday morning and was finalized on Saturday, was the result of seven years of work.
Colombian authorities shared footage of the capture and an images of the 50-year-old in handcuffs.
En trabajo con @FuerzasMilCol, @PoliciaColombia y Fiscalía se logró captura de Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, alias Otoniel, señalado máximo cabecilla del Clan del Golfo, en el cerro del Yoki, paraje rural del corregimiento El Totumo, de Necoclí, #Antioquia. https://t.co/UnJcppl77m pic.twitter.com/FwXkS6dGKv— Fiscalía Colombia (@FiscaliaCol) October 23, 2021
Murder, extortion, kidnapping
Usuga David is accused of various crimes including drug trafficking, murder, extortion, kidnapping, conspiracy and illegal recruiting of minors.
He was indicted by the Southern District of New York on drug trafficking charges and is on the US Drug Enforcement Administration's most wanted list.
Duque confirmed there was an extradition warrant in his name.
The US Department of State had been offering a reward of up to 5 million dollars for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction.
The Clan Del Golfo, formerly called Los Urabenos and Clan Usuga, is a heavily armed organization comprised of former members of terrorist organizations that did not demobilize as part of the Colombian government's peace process.
According to the US Department of State, "the organization uses violence and intimidation to control the narcotics trafficking routes, cocaine processing laboratories, speedboat departure points and clandestine landing strips."