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Colombia captures top drug kingpin

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Colombia's most-wanted drug lord and head of the Gulf Clan, Dairo Antonio Usuga (centre), alias 'Otoniel', after his capture in Bogota. Usuga, for whom the US offered a reward of $5 million, was captured by Colombian authorities, in Necocli, Antioquia department, the government reported. COLOMBIAN NATIONAL POLICE PRESS OFFICE/AFP

Colombia captures top drug kingpin

Colombia's most-wanted drug trafficker "Otoniel" has been captured, officials said on October 23, a major victory for the government of the world's top cocaine exporter.

Dairo Antonio Usuga, who headed the country's largest narco-trafficking gang known as the Gulf Clan, was captured near one of his main outposts in Necocli, near the border with Panama.

Images released by the government showed the 50-year-old Otoniel in handcuffs and surrounded by soldiers.

"This is the hardest strike to drug trafficking in our country this century," president Ivan Duque said in a message, adding that the arrest was "only comparable to the fall of Pablo Escobar", the notorious Colombian narco-trafficking kingpin.

Some 500 soldiers backed by 22 helicopters were deployed in the Necocli municipality to carry out the operation, which left one police officer dead.

It was "the biggest penetration of the jungle ever seen in the military history of our country", Duque said.

A live broadcast by the police later showed a handcuffed Otoniel landing in Bogota before being taken into custody under heavy security.

The US had offered a $5 million bounty for information leading to the arrest of Otoniel, one of the most feared men in Colombia.

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