Colombian cartel thugs torch cars, 'kill cop'

Colombian cartel thugs acting for ‘the most dangerous trafficker in the world’ torch cars and ‘kill cop’ during revenge attacks as drug kingpin rots in US jail ahead of trial after being extradited

  • Gulf Cartel henchmen started torching vehicles Thursday and killed a police officer Friday in Colombia in response to the extradition of its cartel leader 
  • At least 50 vehicles have been burned in the departments of Antioquia, Sucre, Córdoba and Bolivar
  • Police officer Edison Acevedo was shot dead and was robbed of his motorcycle in Caracolí, a city in the department of Antioquia 
  • Some business voluntarily closed or were forced to do so by the cartel 
  • Dairo Antonio ‘Otoniel’ Úsuga was turned over to U.S. federal agents Wednesday and was flown to New York
  • He made his first court appearance Thursday and pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking charges 

An off-duty cop was robbed and killed, and multiple vehicles were set on fire over the last 24 hours as part of the Gulf Clan’s response to the extradition of cartel leader Dairo Antonio ‘Otoniel’ Úsuga to the United States this week.

Police officer Edison Acevedo, who was assigned to the police department in the municipality of Caracolí in the department of Antioquia, was heading home Friday morning after finishing his patrol tour when he was ambushed on a road, TeleMedellín television reported.

The network said that cops at the stationhouse asked Acevedo to stick around and not travel alone due to the dangers that persisted in the region after the Gulf Clan had announced its plans of a four-day ‘national strike’ aimed at destabilizing Antioquia as well as the departments of Bolívar, Sucre and Córdoba.

One of cartel’s retaliative attacks were captured by a surveillance camera and showed the moment a male individual rode on the back of a motorcycle and opened fired at a group of people in the middle of a street in the northern department of Córdoba on Friday and murdered a young man.

The cartel has been recruiting unemployed, young men via social media applications to carry out some of the acts of vandalism that were reported, including the torching of trucks, buses, and cars.

At least 19 of them were arrested by Thursday, according to Army general Juvenal Díaz. 

Police officer Edison Acevedo had finished his patrol tour Friday morning and was traveling home when he was ambushed and shot dead by thugs hired by the Gulf Cartel

A truck is set on fire in Colombia after the Gulf Cartel announced a ‘armed strike’ in response to the extradition of the cartel’s leader, Dairo Antonio ‘Otoniel’ Úsuga to the United States, on Wednesday

A bus is set on fire in Colombia on Thursday as the Gulf Clan is carrying out four days of attacks aimed at destabilizing parts of the country where the cartel has a presence in response to the United States extradition of cartel leader Dairo Antonio Úsuga

An SUV is set on fire and blocks the middle of a road in Colombia. The country Ministry of Transportation has deployed its anti-terrorism police unit to provide security in the streets and roads

More than 50 vehicles alone were set on fire between Thursday and Friday across 30 municipalities in Antioquia and neighboring departments, where Úsuga’s cartel continues to hold a strong presence.

Several businesses in the 30 cities were forced to close their doors to the public by Thursday evening and remained shut Friday.

Authorities reported several medical facilities came under attacks from criminal gangs linked to the Gulf Clan.

An armed man sits on the back of a motorcycle and opens fire the middle of a village in Córdoba, Colombia, where a young man was killed 

Authorities announced Friday the arrest of four suspects (second from the left, third from the left, middle and third from the right) who were contracted by the Gulf Clan to carry out acts of vandalism

Defense Minister Diego Molano told reporters Friday the government was activating an elite unit known as the Search Bloc to go after top-ranking cartel leaders and anyone else who they have enlisted to commit crimes in the affected villages.

While the city of Medellín did not report any incidents, its mayor Daniel Quintero had deployed additional police officers to prevent attacks.

‘It is really worrying what is happening in the country,” Quintero said Friday. ‘We are preparing in Medellin. We have more than 1,200 additional police officers who are controlling public order.”

Úsuga arrived in New York on Wednesday night and made his first court appearance Thursday, pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking charges before a federal judge. 

Colombian drug lord Dairo Antonio ‘Otoniel’ Úsuga is escorted by U.S. federal agents at a New York-area airport after his extradition Wednesday. He is scheduled to appear before a federal court judge Thursday afternoon

A public transportation bus was set on fire by Gulf Clan thugs in the Colombian department of Córdoba on Thursday

Over 50 vehicles have been set on fire in Colombia since Thursday as the Gulf Clan declared it would seek revenge after the government extradited its leader Dairo Antonio ‘Otoniel’ Úsuga

Trucks are set on fire in the Antioquia city of Caucasia on Thursday after the Gulf Clan announced four days of attacks in response to the extradition of  Dairo Antonio Úsuga to the United States on Wednesday

Colombian security forces arrive at a road where Gulf Clan associated reportedly set a tractor trailer on fire on Thursday

Úsuga did not ask for a bail package during his arraignment hearing and told U.S. Magistrate Judge Vera Scanlon to keep him detained until his trial.

The 50-year-old is due back in court June 2.

Considered the most powerful capo in Colombia dating back to Pablo Escobar, Úsuga is accused by the United States Department of Justice for allegedly trafficking at least 90,000 kilos of cocaine from 2003 to October 2022, DEA administrator Anne Milgram said during a press conference Thursday.

“The charges against Otoniel should send a clear message to the leaders of drug cartels around the world,’ Milgram said before Úsuga appeared in court.

‘If you traffic deadly poison; if you use violence and fear to gain power; if you target law enforcement; if you destabilized countries for your profit; and if you run a drug cartel that harms the safety, health and security of the American people, then the Drug Enforcement Administration will stop at nothing to bring you to justice.’

The October 2021 arrest of Úsuga was one of the biggest blows to Colombia’s drug trafficking business since the assassination of Escobar in 1993.

Úsuga was indicted in 2009 in the US, which had offered a $5 million bounty for information leading to his arrest.

Authorities say he is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of members of Colombia’s security forces.

Colombian drug lord Dairo Antonio ‘Otoniel’ Úsuga seen inside a DEA jet before it took off from Bogotá, Colombia, to John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday

The Gulf Clan is believed to be responsible for 30 percent of cocaine exports from Colombia, the world’s largest producer and supplier of the drug.

Formally known as the Los Urabeños and Clan Úsuga, the Gulf Clan is a neo-paramilitary group, in addition to being a drug cartel.

It is currently involved in the on-going Colombian armed conflict, having first appeared after the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia.

In 2011, the clan declared war on the Los Rastrojos – a rival cartel – for control over the drug trade in Medellin, and in the decade that followed has grown into the most powerful criminal organization in the country.

It is believed to have some 3,000 members within its inner organizational circle.

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