Colombian drug kingpin Dairo Antonio sentenced to 45 years
A US court has sentenced Dairo Antonio Úsuga to 45 years in prison for his role in Colombia’s notorious drug trade.
A Colombian man named Dario Antonio Suga was arrested in 2021 and extradited to the United States last year to face drug trafficking charges.
A notorious cocaine trafficker known as Otoniel, who led Colombia’s most powerful gang for more than nine years, was known as Sug.
In January, he pleaded guilty to running a criminal enterprise and smuggling drugs.
During his sentencing on Tuesday, Úsuga expressed his regret.
The 51-year-old apologized to the governments of the United States and Colombia as well as to the victims of his crimes.
A prosecutor had described him as “the most important Colombian narcotics trafficker since Pablo Escobar” and said he helped ship nearly 100,000 kilograms (220,500 pounds) of cocaine to the US.
He is considered one of the world’s most violent and prolific drug traffickers by the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
ÚSuga was arrested in 2021 and extradited to the US last year to face drug trafficking charges.
His lawyers requested a sentence of no more than 25 years. Their argument was that he became a career criminal because of his upbringing in rural poverty and guerrilla warfare.
Judge Dora Irizarry, who presided over the case, dismissed these arguments, claiming she wasn’t influenced by the violence and drugs that surrounded her growing up.
As part of his guilty plea, Suga surrendered $216 million (£170 million) in drug proceeds.
In Colombia, he was the leader of the Gulf Clan cartel, one of the most violent and powerful gangs in the country.
Drug trafficking, illegal gold mining, and extortion are some of the activities of the gang, which operates in many provinces and has extensive international connections.
As far away as Russia, many of the routes used by Colombian drug smugglers are controlled by it.