Colombian drug lord 'Otoniel' pleads guilty in New York court

One of Colombia's most notorious drug lords pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking charges in a New York court Wednesday as part of a plea deal.

Dairo Antonio Usuga, known as "Otoniel," was the leader of Colombia's largest narco-trafficking gang, known as the Gulf Clan.

The 51-year-old was extradited to the United States last year and initially pleaded not guilty to narcotics smuggling.

Usuga has admitted three counts and agreed to pay $216 million in forfeiture. He faces a  mandatory minimum term of 20 years in prison but could still get up to life.

Prosecutors in Brooklyn accused Usuga and the Gulf Clan of illegally bringing at least 73 tons of cocaine into the country between 2003 and 2012.

Usuga was the most wanted person in Colombia until he was arrested in October 2021 in the northwest of the country after a massive military operation.

"With today's guilty plea, the bloody reign of the most violent and significant Colombian narcotics trafficker since Pablo Escobar is over," said Breon Peace, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.