When on April 25, 2020, Spain was still living in disbelief during its first five weeks of confinement due to the Covid pandemic, the National Police gave one of the biggest blows to drug trafficking in recent times: The Central Narcotics Brigade of Udyco intercepted the MV Karar, an impressive ship with more than 4 tons of cocaine inside. He was captured in the Atlantic, when he was approaching the Pontevedra coast.
There were 28 detainees, 15 on the high seas and 13 on land, in charge of docking and disembarking the substance from the huge vessel in the port of Vigo, valued at more than 140 million euros on the black market. The operation was so important that the then General Commissioner of the Judicial Police, Eloy Quirós, now retired, moved there.
Well, who was behind that criminal organization was none other than Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias ‘Otoniel’, the supreme leader of the Gulf clan, the biggest coca lord since Pablo Escobar’s death in 1993.
Past as a guerrilla and paramilitary
He was also a member of the guerrillas of the Popular Liberation Army and the paramilitaries of the Self-Defense Forces Unit of Colombia.
There is no record that he ever set foot in our territory. But his men, boatmen or false merchant sailors, who came to ensure the transaction and then returned to their country. “Otoniel never left the jungle,” Spanish sources from the fight against drug trafficking explain to ABC.
National Police considers the fall of Otaniel is a huge achievement not only for Colombia, but for Europe and Spain in particular. Drug trafficking, human trafficking and arms trafficking are the three most lucrative businesses in the world, and therefore the most difficult to obtain concrete figures.
However, it is considered that this capo was responsible for around 75% -80% of the cocaine that enters the continent annually, which is more than 100 tons. Taking into account that the Police capture between 35% and 40%Our informants estimate that of that global quantity, 70 tons are those that this subject put in our country every year.
A whopping cocaine that, they add, is of enormous quality, with 70% purity, before being flattered here, of course. Then, it passed into the hands of intermediaries and finally of the distributors of the different points of sale in our country, which are not few.
In fact, Otoniel is considered responsible for the three largest police operations against drug trafficking in recent years. In 2018, a container with 9 tons of white powder was intercepted in the port of Algeciras. In the operation, a civil guard fell, in charge of clearing the entry of the shipment, paid by the Gulf cartel.
In terms of spectacularity, the 3 tons seized on Aldán de Vigo beach in November 2019, also from Otoniel’s organization, take the cake. The Spanish Police handled good data from the Intelligence services of the imminent arrival of a boat to that area of Galicia.
‘Narcosubmarino’ in Galicia
For this reason, aerial means were arranged to hunt him down, with no luck. The researchers, however, knew that the information they were handling was fetén. And they suspected that, instead of a boat, it could be a semi-submersible. So it was. Two weeks later, this ‘narco-submarine’ fell into the hands of our authorities.
More than three thousand kilos of ‘merca de la buena’ that on the street could have reached the value of more than 60 million euros and 3 million one-gram papers before cutting, which could multiply this amount by up to five, depending on the ‘camel’.
Silver or lead in Antioquia
For all these things, our country is in luck with the coup given to the greatest living drug lord on the planet. A guy who controlled that Gulf clan and whose power was such that when some other clan tried to pass their stash through the area of Antioquia, where Medellín is located, controlled by Otoniel, they had to pay a kind of ‘revolutionary tax’, that A practice created by Pablo Escobar in the 80s and which has become popular as ‘plata o Lead’.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism