Colombia’s most wanted drug traf ficker and the leader of the country’s largest criminal gang has been captured.
Dairo Antonio Úsuga, better known as Otoniel, was seized after a joint operation by the army, air force and police on Saturday.
The government had offered a $800,000 (£582,000) reward for information about his whereabouts, while the US placed a $5m bounty on his head.
President Iván Duque hailed Otoniel’s capture in a televised video message. “This is the biggest blow against drug trafficking in our country this century,” he said. “This blow is only comparable to the fall of Pablo Escobar in the 1990s.”
Otoniel was captured in his rural hideout in Antioquia province in north-western Colombia, close to the border with Panama.
The operation involved 500 soldiers supported by 22 helicopters. One police officer was killed. Otoniel had used a network of rural safe houses to move around and evade the authorities, and did not use a phone, instead relying on couriers for communication.
But his location at the time of his capture was pinpointed two weeks ago, a local newspaper said.—Agencies