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Colombian drug kingpin dubbed 'most feared narco-terrorist' loses £40 million fortune

Dominic Smithers

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| Last updated 

Colombian drug kingpin dubbed 'most feared narco-terrorist' loses £40 million fortune

A major drug lord has lost his fortune after being sentenced to over 30 years in prison.

Daniel Rendón Herrera was Colombia's most wanted man after leading the violent paramilitary group United Self-Defence Forces (AUC), known for kidnap and torture.

As well as murdering anyone it believed to be a member of the country's left-wing rebels, the AUC extorted millions from drug dealers who were smuggling into its territories.

Eventually, the AUC became one of the most feared gangs in the country, with thousands of people displaced as a result of their violence.

Herrera and his men also made huge amounts of money from smuggling cocaine into the US.

But while many AUC members, including his brother Freddy Rendón Herrera, quit following a peace deal in 2003, Herrera went on to found the Clan del Golfo.

Daniel Rendón Herrera was captured in 2009. Credit: Colombian National Police
Daniel Rendón Herrera was captured in 2009. Credit: Colombian National Police

As the authorities worked harder to nab him, the 57-year-old, who was known as Don Mario, offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who killed a police officer.

He was eventually tracked down to a rural hideaway in Antioquia province in 2009, where he was said to have been found eating food off a plate 'like a dog'.

In 2018, Herrera was extradited to the US, where he was charged with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise as a leader of the paramilitary, multibillion dollar drug organisation known as the Clan del Golfo.

He pleaded guilty to the charges in November 2021 and has now been sentenced to 35 years in prison and ordered to pay $45.7m (£40.9m) in forfeiture.

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Following the conviction, Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said his office would not relent in its determination to bring criminal gangs to justice.

He said: "Once the most feared narco-terrorist in Colombia, today marks the end of the criminal career of Rendon Herrera, responsible for importing tons of cocaine, fuelling violence, perpetuating drug abuse leaving a wake of destruction from Colombia to the United States, and stained with the blood of rival drug traffickers and civilians who were tortured and killed by the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia.

The drug lord led a violent paramilitary group. Credit: REUTERS/Alamy
The drug lord led a violent paramilitary group. Credit: REUTERS/Alamy

"Our Office remains committed to cooperating with our international partners to dismantle transnational criminal organizations like the Clan del Golfo."

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Frank A. Tarentino III added: "Daniel Rendon Herrera was one of the most prolific drug traffickers to ever operate in Colombia.

"As leader of the AUC and Clan del Golfo, Don Mario was responsible for not only importing multi-ton quantities of cocaine into the United States, but also for terrorising the citizens of Colombia for financial gain.

"Today’s sentencing underscores DEA’s commitment to bringing to justice drug traffickers at the highest levels who cause the most harm throughout our communities."

Dairo Antonio Úsuga, who succeeded Herrera as the leader of the Clan del Golfo, was arrested last year and extradited to the US in May.

Freddy Rendón Herrera was released from prison back in 2017 and has since apologised for his part in the AUC's crimes.

Featured Image Credit: Reuters/Alamy

Topics: US News, Drugs, Crime

Dominic Smithers
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