An infamous paramilitary and drug lord from Colombia was given a 35-year prison term by a New York court.
Don Mario, an alias for Daniel Rendón Herrera, was the commander of the right-wing paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces (AUC).
The group, which was first established to fight against left-wing insurgents, was involved in kidnapping, murder, and extortion.
In 2009, Don Mario, 57, was apprehended in a remote hideout. He was Colombia’s most wanted kingpin at the time.
After being extradited to the US in 2018, he admitted to smuggling more than 80 tonnes of cocaine into the country last year.
Key figures in the AUC included Daniel Rendón Herrera and his brother Freddy, also known as El Alemán (The German) for his passion for enforcing rigorous discipline on his men.
They were leaders of thousands of warriors who, as members of that paramilitary organization, targeted and killed anyone they believed to be a supporter of Colombia’s left-wing rebel factions.
The AUC engaged in drug trafficking and levied taxes on cocaine transported through regions it controlled in order to finance itself.
Some of Colombia’s most horrible atrocities were carried out by AUC members. The group’s violence resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of Colombians.
Freddy Rendón Herrera and other gang members were demobilized as part of a 2003 peace agreement.
But in contrast to his brother, Don Mario refused to give up the fight and helped create the Gulf Clan gang.
Under his direction, the Gulf Clan grew to be Colombia’s most feared gang, smuggling tons of cocaine to the US and murdering anyone who got in its way.
In 2009, as police intensified their search for Don Mario, he announced a $1,000 reward for the murder of a police officer.
He was located in the province of Antioquia after a nine-month search.
Juan Manuel Santos, the country’s defense minister at the time, claimed he had been discovered eating rice off a plate “like a dog” while wearing only his underwear.
He was referred to as “one of the most prolific drug traffickers to ever operate in Colombia” by US Drug Enforcement Administration officials.
Dairo Antonio Suga, who took over as leader of the Gulf Clan after him, was apprehended last year and deported to the US in May.
Freddy Rendón Herrera, Don Mario’s brother, was released from prison in 2017 and has pleaded with the community for pardon for enlisting hundreds of youngsters as members of the AUC while serving as the organization’s head.
INEC is concerned about campaign clashes and cautions parties.
The conflict between rival parties and their supporters throughout the ongoing campaigns around the nation has alarmed the Independent National Electoral Commission.
This was said on Tuesday at the Training of Master Trainers on Technologies for the 2023 General Election by INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu.
He said the reason for conflicts between parties and their supporters during electioneering campaigns in several states of the country is worrying. The speaker warned parties and supporters to focus on problems and avoid attacking one another.