Colombia's President Ivan Duque likened the arrest of Dairo Antonio Usuga, the country's most-wanted drug lord, to the capture of late drug kingpin Pablo Escobar three decades ago.

Colombia's security forces on Saturday have captured Usuga, widely known by his alias Otoniel, who stayed on the run for more than a decade.

Usuga had managed to elude capture by corrupting state officials and aligning himself with combatants on the left and right, according to Associated Press.

Ivan Duque said it was the "biggest blow to drug trafficking" in Colombia since the fall of Pablo Escobar.

Otoniel, 50, has been allegedly sending dozens of shipments of cocaine to the United States, killing police officers, recruiting minors, as well as sexually abusing children, Business Insider reported.

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Otoniel's Capture

Dairo Antonio Usuga is known to be the head of the notorious Gulf Clan, whose assassins terrorized most of northern Colombia to secure the control of major cocaine smuggling routes to Central America and onto the U.S.

Gulf Clan is also called Los Urabeños, and Gaitanista Self-Defence Forces or Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia.

The U.S. Justice Department has described the group as a "heavily armed, extremely violent" criminal group with former members of terrorist organizations.

According to defense minister Diego Molano, Saturday's operation in a rural area of the South American nation's Uraba region involved more than 500 members of Colombia's special forces and 22 helicopters, Sky News reported.

The operation, named Osiris, which resulted in the death of one police officer, brought to an end years-long efforts to find and capture Otoniel.

Otoniel's sister, Nini Johana Usuga, was also arrested in March this year. Dozens of his lieutenants were also captured and killed at an operation in 2016. Nini was extradited to the United States to face charges related to drug trafficking and money laundering.

Colombia Risk Analysis director Sergio Guzman told Reuters that the arrest of the biggest drug kingpin in Colombia was a big deal. However, he noted that Usuga was "bound to be replaced."

Colombia's Most-Wanted Drug Lord Dairo Antonio Usuga

Dairo Antonio Usuga has been on the most-wanted fugitives list of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, with a $5 million reward for his capture.

Colombia also offered a reward of up to $800,000 for information leading to his capture Ivan Duque said his government was working on extraditing Otoniel, most likely to the United States. 

Otoniel was first indicted in 2009 in a Manhattan federal court on drug trafficking charges, Aljazeera reported. He was also known to be facing criminal charges in Brooklyn and Miami for drug trafficking and firearms charges.

Aside from Otoniel, Pablo Escobar was also one of the Colombian drug traffickers who eventually controlled over 80 percent of the cocaine being shipped to the U.S.

Escobar even landed a spot on Forbes Magazine's 10 wealthiest people in the world, according to

He entered the cocaine trade in the early 1970s and formed Medellin Cartel. Pablo Escobar earned popularity by sponsoring charity projects and soccer clubs.

However, he turned to terror campaigns, which led the public to turn against him due to the murder of thousands of civilians.

Medellin Cartel also made Colombia the main smuggling ground for marijuana.

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This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written by: Mary Webber

WATCH: Otoniel: Colombia's Most Wanted Drug Lord Captured - From Al Jazeera English