Colombia Focuses on Wiping Out the Clan del Golfo

Colombia Focuses on Wiping Out the Clan del Golfo

By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo
December 09, 2021

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Following the capture of the Clan del Golfo’s leader Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias Otoniel, on October 23, 2021, the Colombian security forces are now focused on completely dismantling the criminal group, the Colombian National Police (PNC, in Spanish) said on November 3.

The Clan del Golfo has connections in order to ship cocaine to 28 countries on four continents, in partnership with five international cartels and mafias: in Mexico, the Jalisco New Generation and Sinaloa cartels; and in Europe, the Calabrian and Sicilian mafias and narcotraffickers from the Balkan area, with the latter also in charge of supplying countries in the Middle East, the PNC says.

The Police estimates that this narcotrafficking organization controls 12 percent of the illicit crops in the departments of Antioquia, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Bolívar, Córdoba, and Chocó.

Major blows

Continuous operations by the authorities against the Clan del Golfo have weakened the organization considerably. “In total, 110 narcotraffickers and leaders associated with the clan have been captured [since 2016],” the PNC says.

During the pursuit of alias Otoniel, authorities “have seized approximately 450 tons [of cocaine] in Colombia, in international waters, in Central America, the United States, and Europe,” General Jorge Luis Vargas, PNC director, told the EFE news agency on November 3.

Disrupted plan

“The Clan del Golfo was seeking to open a route through Catatumbo, Norte de Santander, to connect with Venezuela. Alias Otoniel’s capture cut short this expansion plan that sought to reach Venezuelan airstrips and ship drugs to the United States and Europe,” Colombian Minister of Defense Diego Molano told Voice of America on November 5.

In Chocó department, 15 leaders and more than 70 members of the Clan del Golfo have decided to leave the criminal life behind and stop putting their lives and their families at risk, and take advantage of the legal opportunities that the government is offering them, the Ministry of Defense said on Twitter.

Alias Otoniel is awaiting extradition to the United States, where he is wanted in Florida and New York courts for federal narcotrafficking offenses, the Colombian Office of the Attorney General said.