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Don Mario: 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.

Don Mario, Colombian drug kingpin sentenced in US

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.

Freddy, also known as El Alemán (The German) for his fondness of enforcing harsh discipline on his men, and Daniel Rendón Herrera were significant figures in AUC.

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 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.

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