The powerful Colombian drug trafficker and cartel boss Dairo Antonio Úsuga aka Otoniel has been sentenced to 45 years in prison in the United States.

The judge in charge in New York found it proven that the leader of the crime syndicate “Clan del Golfo” (Golf Clan) had smuggled large quantities of cocaine into the United States. In addition, Otoniel was fined $216 million. The 51-year-old pleaded guilty earlier this year.

“Otoniel ran one of the largest drug trafficking rings in the world, smuggling vast quantities of cocaine into the United States. He ordered the ruthless execution of Colombian police officers, soldiers and civilians,” said US Attorney General Merrick Garland. US Attorney Breon Peace said: “The human misery caused by the defendant’s bloody reign as leader of the Gulf Clan can never be fully grasped because of its scale, but the lengthy sentence handed down today sends a message to other cartel leaders that the United States will seek their arrest and extradition to hold them accountable in our courts.”

Otoniel led the Gulf clan between 2003 and 2021, turning it into the most powerful criminal organization in Colombia. The criminal syndicate recruits its members mainly from former right-wing paramilitaries and is said to have around 6,000 men under arms. In addition to drug trafficking, the Gulf clan is also involved in illegal mining and racketeering and is responsible for numerous murders and expulsions.