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Who is the famous Colombian cartel linked to the record collection of cocaine in Ireland?

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The Colombian cartel is the world’s largest producer and distributor of cocaine.

Reports have linked the massive seizure of cocaine discovered off the coast of Cork to the Colombian Gulf Clan Cartel, also known as Clan Del Golfo.

The Colombian cartel is the world’s largest producer and distributor of cocaine.

According to Colombian officials, the group exports at least 20 tons of cocaine each month.

The crime syndicate, which has around 3,000 armed men, now controls most of the territory once ruled by Pablo Escobar and the Medellín cartel.

They account for between 50 and 70 percent of Colombia’s cocaine production and emerged from the remnants of a banned right-wing paramilitary group that fought FARC rebel forces during the country’s half-century of civil conflict.

Some of the cocaine seized by Gardaí off Co Cork

Europe also became, arguably, the largest market for the cartel’s products and they forged close ties with the continent’s super-cartel leaders.

Just this week, the US Treasury added the leader of Clan Del Golfo to its official sanctions list – where he will join Christy Kinahan and her two sons Daniel and Christy jnr.

Jobanis de Jesus Avila Villadiego, known as Chiquito Malo, has been the leader of the Clan del Golfo since the extradition of the former leader, Dairo Antonio Úsuga.

Úsuga – better known by his nickname “Otoniel” – was deported to the United States in May 2022 after being taken into US custody.

Colombia is offering a reward of approximately $1.2 million for information leading to the location and arrest of Chiquito Malo.

The capture of Dairo Antonio Úsuga, otherwise known as Otoniel

Under Otoniel’s leadership, the Clan del Golfo formed a strong alliance with Balkan, Italian and Mexican cartels and notably had ties to Edin Gacanin, one of the business partners of Daniel Kinahan’s super cartel.

The European Cocaine Super Cartel is made up of the Irish Kinahan Mafia, the Balkan Tito and Dino Cartel, the Dutch Mocro Mafia and the Italian Camorra.

Hundreds of tonnes of cocaine are believed to have been ordered directly for the European market through connections and meetings deep in the Colombian jungle.

The emerging picture of the global movement of cocaine from Colombia, Ecuador and Chile to Europe provides insight into how the Balkan element of the super cartel brought drug gangs directly to their suppliers in the mountains where coca leaves are grown.

Sources say a business plan for the merger of the groups was dreamed up by Daniel Kinahan and that each cartel pooled money and contacts to form a powerful group that flooded Europe with cocaine over the last five years.

A previous investigation by the Sunday World, based on EU drug reports, information from sources and reports published in the Balkan territories, found that the Kinahan organization could be directly linked to Otoniel.

Colombian authorities believe Otoniel regularly met with criminals from Europe, and particularly the Balkans, to negotiate massive shipments of cocaine and even took them to his jungle home to make deals.

Chiquito Malo is also suspected of having met the criminals and of having a personal relationship with someone close to Gacinan.

However, Otoniel ultimately pleaded guilty in New York to trafficking nearly 97,000 kg (107 tons) of cocaine.

“Tons of cocaine were moved with my permission or at my direction,” Dairo Antonio Úsuga testified in a Brooklyn federal court.

“There was a lot of violence from guerrillas and criminal gangs,” he added, recognizing that “within the framework of military work, homicides were committed.”

As part of his plea deal, Úsuga (51) agreed to forfeit $216 million in criminal cash, although the US government agreed not to seek the life sentence as part of his plea deal. an agreement to secure his extradition from Colombia.

His capture in October, after a seven-year manhunt, has been compared to the fall of Pablo Escobar in the 1980s by former Colombian President Iván Duque.

Pablo Escobar. Photo: Éric Vandeville

Duque said Usuga was “not only the most dangerous drug trafficker in the world, but he is also a murderer of social leaders, an abuser of boys, girls and adolescents, a murderer of police officers.”

According to prosecutors, Úsuga’s thousands of henchmen carried out attacks, kidnappings, torture, assassinations and organized campaigns against Colombian law enforcement and military troops.

Despite a $5 million reward offered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for information leading to his arrest, Úsuga evaded capture through a combination of corruption and alliances with left-wing fighters and right-wing in the internal conflict that has been tearing Colombia apart for more than half a century. .

He was finally captured in his rural hideout in Colombia’s northwest Antioquia province in October 2021, near the border with Panama, in an operation involving 500 soldiers supported by 22 helicopters.

According to police, the Clan del Golfo buys coca leaves for 12 percent of the coca plants grown in the departments of Antioquia, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Bolívar and Córdoba.

They also operate from Honduras and Costa Rica, which serve as intermediate stations on routes to the United States and Europe, respectively.

. In Europe, the main access points are the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam.

According to police intelligence, they ran entire shipping companies to transport containers or shipments of drugs and used around 200 different stamps to identify various blocks of cocaine.

These included logos of well-known clothing brands and other products.

Over the past six years, authorities have seized 450 tons of cocaine from the Clan del Golfo and arrested 31 leaders who now face extradition to the United States.

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