US indicts 17 alleged drug traffickers from Colombia, with ties to Costa Rica
NEW YORK – The United States announced Tuesday it had indicted 17 alleged leaders and associates of Colombia’s powerful Clan Usuga drug gang, who would all risk life in prison if ever convicted.
They are charged with criminal enterprise, international cocaine trafficking conspiracy and firearms charges in New York and Miami.
Their alleged crimes took place from 2002 until 2015, in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela and elsewhere, U.S. officials said.
Among those indicted is Clan Usuga’s leader, Dairo “Otoniel” Usuga. The U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest or conviction.
Kelly Currie, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, flew to Bogotá to make the announcement with a counterpart from Florida.
“The indictments announced today are the result of a sweeping national and international effort to stem the flow of drugs across the world and into our communities,” Currie said.
Along with Currie making the announcement were U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida and Regional Director Jay Bergman of the Andean Region of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Among those indicted are alleged regional commanders accused of collecting drug taxes and managing armed fighters, coordinating drug shipments and maintaining control over airstrips and ports on the Colombian coast.
In all, 25 individuals have been charged in the investigations coordinated by the U.S. attorneys’ offices in Brooklyn and Miami, officials said.
Some of the defendants are already charged elsewhere in the U.S.
Colombian authorities have said the capture of “Otoniel” would effectively break up the gang, which emerged after 32,000 right-wing paramilitaries were demobilized a decade ago.
That was part of an effort to end a more than 50-year war between the army and leftist guerrillas that has spilled over into paramilitary groups and drug trafficking.
You may be interested
Alert declared once more for Pacific slope due to heavy rainsKatherine Stanley - October 23, 2017
The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) has announced that rains are expected to increase significantly on Costa Rica's Pacific Slope beginning…
Women’s Hackathon takes place in San JoséThe Tico Times - October 23, 2017
More than 200 women from Central America, Mexico and the Dominican Republic gathered in San José over the weekend for…
Road safety in Costa Rica: the law of the jungle must rule no moreRoberto Guzmán - October 23, 2017
In the wake of the killing of another athlete in Costa Rica by a drunk driver, we feel impelled to…