Former Leader of the Violent “Clan del Golfo” Drug Trafficking Organization Pleads Guilty to Engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise and Other Related Charges | USAO-EDNY & More Trending News


Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, identified by varied aliases, together with “Otoniel,” pleaded responsible at present to operating a persevering with legal enterprise—the Colombian paramilitary and multibillion greenback drug group generally known as the “Clan del Golfo” (CDG).  Úsuga David additionally pleaded responsible to associated drug distribution expenses.  When sentenced, Úsuga David will face a necessary minimal time period of 20 years in jail and up to life in jail.  As half of the plea settlement, Úsuga David additionally agreed to pay a $216 million forfeiture cash judgment.  The continuing was held earlier than United States District Judge Dora L. Irizarry.

Úsuga David was charged by approach of indictments filed in the Eastern District of New York, United States v. Dairo Antonio Usuga David, et al., 14-CR-625 (S-4) (E.D.N.Y.) (the “EDNY Indictment”), in the Southern District of Florida, United States v. Dairo Antonio Usuga David, 15-CR-20403 (S-1) (the “SDFL Indictment”), and in the Southern District of New York, United States v. Dairo Antonio Usuga David, 04-CR-962 (S-3) (the “SDNY Indictment”) (collectively the “Indictments”). 

The EDNY Indictment charged Úsuga David with, amongst different issues, participating in a persevering with legal enterprise from June 2003 by October 2021.  The SDFL Indictment charged Úsuga David with, amongst different issues, maritime narcotics distribution conspiracy from 2002 by October 23, 2021.  The SDNY Indictment charged Úsuga David with, amongst different issues, narcotics importation conspiracy from 2001 by April 2009.  Úsuga David was extradited from Colombia to the Eastern District of New York in May 2022. 

Pursuant to a plea settlement, Úsuga David agreed to the switch of the SDFL Indictment and the SDNY Indictment for plea and sentencing in the Eastern District of New York.  Thus, Úsuga David can be held accountable in the Eastern District of New York for the legal conduct encompassing the three Indictments.

Merrick B. Garland, United States Attorney General; Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Markenzy Lapointe, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Anne Milgram, Administrator, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Ivan Arvelo, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI); Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD); and Steven A. Nigrelli, Acting Superintendent, New York State Police (NYSP), introduced the responsible pleas.

“With today’s guilty plea, the bloody reign of the most violent and significant Colombian narcotics trafficker since Pablo Escobar is over.  Úsuga David has now been held accountable for his leadership of the Clan del Golfo, which was responsible for trafficking tons of illegal narcotics from Colombia to the United States and incalculable acts of violence against law enforcement, military personnel, and civilians in Colombia and elsewhere,” acknowledged United States Attorney Peace.  “Today’s guilty plea is the result of the determined work of numerous law enforcement personnel in the United States, Colombia, and elsewhere.  It is our hope that bringing Úsuga David to justice can provide a measure of solace to the victims of his narcotics trafficking and violence in Colombia and the United States.”

Mr. Peace prolonged his appreciation to the United States Attorneys’ Offices for the Middle District of Florida and Eastern District of Texas; the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs; the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS); Judicial Attachés in Bogotá, Colombia; NDDS SOD Trial Attorneys; the United States Marshals Service; the Port Authority Police Department; the President of Colombia; the Colombian Attorney General’s Office; the Colombian National Police; the Colombian Ministry of National Defense; the Colombian Ministry of Justice; and the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for help in the investigation, arrest, and extradition of the defendant.

“The guilty plea of alias Otoniel is the result of exemplary international cooperation,” stated U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe. “It also signifies years of hard work, commitment and perseverance of our Colombian and U.S. law enforcement partners to stem the flow of cocaine into the United States and to bring a major international drug trafficker to justice.”

“Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message to the leaders of drug cartels around the world that the DEA will stop at nothing to investigate and dismantle criminal drug networks that threaten the safety and health of the American people,” stated Administrator Anne Milgram. “DEA investigated Otoniel—one of the most violent and prolific drug traffickers in the world—for almost 20 years. Under Otoniel’s leadership, Clan del Golfo shipped massive quantities of cocaine into the United States and killed rivals that threatened the cartels’ trafficking operations. I commend the men and women of the DEA for their many years of outstanding work that culminated in today’s guilty plea.”

“Today’s guilty plea ends Dairo Antonio Usuga David’s nearly 20-year reign of terror as a member and eventual leader of the notorious drug trafficking organization Clan del Golfo – an organization whose violent criminal activities pose a major strategic drug and national security threat to both the United States and Colombia,” stated Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York. “HSI will not stand by while narco-terrorists peddle poison around the globe for their own selfish financial gains. We will continue to work with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to disrupt and dismantle these dangerous transnational criminal enterprises and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

As at present’s plea particulars, Usaga David admitted to main a savage and violent cartel answerable for trafficking monumental quantities of unlawful narcotics to the United States.  The FBI together with our legislation enforcement companions are devoted in our efforts to ensure ruthless actors like Usaga David are held accountable for his or her damaging actions in our legal justice system,” acknowledged Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.

“Today’s guilty plea further affirms the New York City Police Department’s unwavering commitment to ridding our streets of illegal narcotics,” acknowledged NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “Because we know this vital work is far from over, we will continue to stand united with our local, state, federal, and international law enforcement partners in the fight against violent drug traffickers, wherever they are based. To that end, I thank and commend the New York State Police, the FBI, the DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, and every other detective, agent, and attorney involved in this important case.”

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli stated, “I applaud the remarkable work done by our State Police members and law enforcement partners in this case.  Today’s guilty plea is proof that we will not tolerate those who bring dangerous drug activity into our communities and put the health and safety of others at risk. The State Police will continue to work with our partners to put an end to these violent enterprises to make our state a safer place.”

According to the Indictments, between June 2003 and October 2021, Úsuga David was the chief of a persevering with legal enterprise answerable for exporting multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia to Mexico and Central America for final importation into the United States.  Additionally, Úsuga David participated in conspiracies to distribute narcotics by way of maritime vessels and additionally to manufacture and distribute cocaine, realizing and intending that the narcotics could be illegally imported into the United States.

The Clan Del Golfo

Between 2012 and by his seize by Colombian navy and legislation enforcement forces on October 23, 2021, Úsuga David was the chief of the CDG.

The CDG is one of the most violent and strongest legal organizations in Colombia, and it’s one of the largest distributors of cocaine in the world.  With as many as 6,000 members, the CDG workout routines navy management over huge quantities of territory in the Urabá area of Antioquia, Colombia, one of the most profitable drug trafficking areas inside Colombia due to its proximity to the Colombia-Panama border and the Caribbean and Pacific coasts.  Clad in navy uniforms, CDG members make use of navy techniques and weapons to reinforce their energy and incite wars and violence in opposition to rival drug traffickers, paramilitary organizations, and Colombian legislation enforcement authorities who threaten the CDG’s management.  

The CDG funds its operations primarily by drug trafficking.  It imposes a “tax” on any drug traffickers working in territory below its management, charging charges for each kilogram of cocaine manufactured, saved, or transported by areas managed by the group.  The CDG additionally immediately exports cocaine, and coordinates the manufacturing, buy, and switch of weekly and bi-weekly multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia into Central America and Mexico for final importation to the United States. 

To keep management over CDG territory, Úsuga David and the CDG employed a military of “sicarios,” or hitmen, who carried out acts of violence, together with murders, assaults, kidnappings, torture, and assassinations in opposition to rivals and these deemed traitors to the group, in addition to their relations.  The CDG murdered and assaulted Colombian legislation enforcement officers, Colombian navy personnel, rival drug traffickers and paramilitaries, potential witnesses, and civilians.  Úsuga David and the CDG used violence to promote and improve the repute, and place of the CDG with respect to rival legal organizations; protect, shield, and broaden the CDG’s energy and territory; finance the CDG’s operations and enrich its leaders by the assortment of drug money owed; keep self-discipline amongst its members and associates; and shield CDG members from arrest and prosecution by making an attempt to silence potential witnesses and retaliating in opposition to legislation enforcement authorities and these helping legislation enforcement. 

The Defendant’s Conduct

According to court docket filings, Úsuga David served as a high-ranking chief inside the CDG from its inception and was its principal chief for 10 years.  During his reign, Úsuga David oversaw all of the CDG’s actions and directed its members to have interaction in intensive legal acts, together with acts of violence, mandated “strikes” or shutdowns of all enterprise actions and civilian motion inside designated areas of Colombia, retaliation in opposition to legislation enforcement authorities and potential witnesses, the exertion of management over drug manufacturing services and trafficking routes, and the exportation of cocaine in multi-ton portions.

Úsuga David assumed energy and territorial management over huge swaths of the Colombian shoreline and personally directed members of the CDG to commit acts of violence to reinforce that energy.  This included violence in opposition to civilians.  For instance, in early 2012, following the demise of Úsuga David’s brother, Juan de Dios Úsuga David (also called “Giovanni”), in a police raid, Úsuga David ordered that a multi-day shutdown or “strike” be imposed on cities and communities inside the CDG’s management.  During the strike, CDG members ordered that every one companies stay closed, and that residents keep in their houses.  For a number of days, the streets remained empty, as Úsuga David ordered CDG members to execute those that didn’t adhere to his orders. 

Úsuga David additionally personally ordered CDG members to commit murders of particular people, together with the murders of rival drug traffickers and members of the CDG who betrayed him or the group.  For instance, Úsuga David ordered the assassinations of a number of people who labored for a rival drug trafficking group run by Daniel Barrera Barrera.   Úsuga David additionally ordered the torture and homicide of a CDG member who offered data to Barrera’s group.  That particular person was subsequently tortured, buried alive, exhumed, and beheaded autopsy.

In addition, Úsuga David commonly directed CDG members to use violence, intimidation, and homicide to dissuade legislation enforcement authorities from performing their duties and to silence potential witnesses.  For instance, at Úsuga David’s path, the CDG carried out organized campaigns, referred to as “Plan Pistolas,” to kill Colombian legislation enforcement and navy personnel utilizing military-grade weapons, together with grenades, explosives, and assault rifles.  Úsuga David additionally provided bounties for the homicide of Colombian cops and navy personnel to intimidate legislation enforcement authorities and stop them from capturing him or interfering in the CDG’s enterprise.  Úsuga David’s group made quite a few makes an attempt to assassinate people who have been believed to be cooperating with legislation enforcement.  For instance, CDG members tried to poison a witness with cyanide whereas he was imprisoned abroad and tried to assassinate the witness’s legal professional.

Úsuga David was additionally extensively concerned in the narcotics actions that funded the CDG and enabled its energy.  He oversaw the CDG’s drug trafficking exports and directed a community of “debt collectors” tasked with the enforcement and assortment of taxes paid by drug trafficking organizations that operated in areas managed by the CDG.   In addition, Úsuga David managed cocaine manufacturing services and used the CDG’s intensive distribution community to export cocaine independently for his personal private revenue.

Asset Forfeiture

As half of the plea settlement, Úsuga David agreed to pay a $216 million forfeiture cash judgment.  The forfeiture cash judgment is topic to the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Colombia regarding the Sharing of Forfeited Proceeds and Instrumentalities of Crime.

The investigation, extradition, and conviction of Úsuga David is an element of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, cash launderers, gangs, and transnational legal organizations that threaten the United States through the use of a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency strategy that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and native legislation enforcement companies in opposition to legal networks.

The authorities’s case is being dealt with by the Eastern District of New York’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Francisco J. Navarro, Gillian A. Kassner, and Tara B. McGrath are in cost of the prosecution with help from Paralegal Specialist Sophia Cronin, and Assistant United States Attorney Claire S. Kedeshian of the Office’s Asset Recovery Section is dealing with forfeiture issues. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Emery of the Southern District of Florida and Assistant United States Attorney Alexander Li of the Southern District of New York led the prosecutions for his or her respective workplaces.

The Defendant:

Dairo Antonio Úsuga David (also called “Otoniel,” “Mao,” “Gallo” and “Mauricio-Gallo”)
Age: 51
Antioquia, Colombia

E.D.N.Y. Docket Nos. 14-CR-625 (S-4) (DLI)

                                     23-CR-021 (DLI)

                                     23-CR-027 (DLI)

Former Leader of the Violent “Clan del Golfo” Drug Trafficking Organization Pleads Guilty to Engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise and Other Related Charges | USAO-EDNY

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Former Leader of the Violent “Clan del Golfo” Drug Trafficking Organization Pleads Guilty to Engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise and Other Related Charges | USAO-EDNY

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