One of the world's most notorious drug lords was extradited overnight from Colombia to Brooklyn, where he is expected to face trial on a litany of charges, federal officials said Thursday.
Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, better known as "Otoniel," was captured last October. Colombian President Ivan Duque made his capture one of the top goals of his administration -- even the U.S. had a $5 million reward out for the capture of the 50-year-old. Agents with the United States' Homeland Security Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration helped bring him in.
Otoniel, leader of the feared Gulf Clan, spent years on the run. The operation to seize him involved hundreds of Colombian special forces and dozens of helicopters.
Get Tri-state area news and weather forecasts to your inbox. Sign up for NBC New York newsletters.
Otoniel was flown into JFK Airport overnight after a decade-long manhunt for the man alleged to be a murderous drug kingpin.
Colombian authorities posted video of his extradition Wednesday night as soldiers led him to a plane. After he landed in New York City, DEA and HSI agents took the reputed drug lord to a waiting caravan to take him to Brooklyn and his arraignment on drug charges.
Exclusive photos of his arrival obtained by News 4 show a man who once allegedly commanded an empire, now shackled, haggard and held on three sides by cops and law enforcement.
Otoniel is the second major alleged trafficker brought to New York for trial in the last three weeks. Former president of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez was flown to New York late last month.
Hernandez is accused of using his power as president to help Honduras become a major drug trafficking hub for cartels – all while claiming publicly he was helping the U.S. fight the war on cocaine trafficking.
These two extraditions are the biggest captures since mexican Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman was extradited to the U.S. in 2017 and sentenced to life in prison in 2019.
Colombian authorities say Otoniel’s capture is the biggest hit to Colombian traffickers since Pablo Escobar was killed in a shootout back in 1993.
Otoniel had been indicted in Brooklyn and Miami. In addition to charges related to drugs and violence, he has been accused of sexually abusing women, and even teen girls, over the years.
Otoniel is appearing in federal court Thursday evening where he is expected to be held without bail pending trial. His attorney did not return request for comment.