Ecuador President Daniel Noboa declares a state of emergency across the nation, including its prison system. This because of the escape of Jose Adolfo Macías Villamar, alias Fito, the leader of the Los Choneros drug cartel, from a prison in Guayaquil.
Fito’s escape has concerns about the criminal turf war in the country, making a massive deployment of over 3,000 police officers and armed forces to locate the gang leader.
Jose Adolfo Macías Villamar, known as Fito, has a reputation as the leader of the Los Choneros drug cartel.
Serving a 34-year prison sentence since 2011 for crimes including drug trafficking and murder, Fito managed to escape previously in 2013, only to be recaptured later.
The Los Choneros gang has been linked to violent clashes with rival criminal groups, including Mexican cartels, Brazilian urban gangs, and Albanian mafia cells.
President Daniel Noboa has declared a state of emergency for 60 days, granting security forces the authority needed to combat what he describes as narcoterrorists.
The emergency measures include a nightly curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. President Noboa addressed the need to regain control of Ecuador’s prison system, which has been a hotspot for criminal activity and violence in recent years.
He stated that his government will not negotiate with terrorists to restore peace to all Ecuadorians. Fito’s criminal history is by involvement in drug trafficking, murder, and organized crime.
His influence over the Los Choneros gang, known for controlling Ecuador’s main prisons, has been a challenge for law enforcement.
The gang’s connections with international criminal syndicates, including Mexican cartels, have fueled the conflict within the country.
Ecuador, once considered an island of peace between major cocaine producers Peru and Colombia, has seen a surge in violence in recent years.
The country’s location, with deep ports serving as transit points for cocaine destined for the United States and Europe, has made it a target for drug traffickers.
Ecuador’s prisons have become a ground for criminal activities, with overcrowded conditions allowing inmates, including gang leaders like Fito, to maintain control and run criminal networks from behind bars.
Authorities accuse the Choneros of controlling the country’s main prisons, leading to a breakdown in the prison system’s security.
Analysts believe that Ecuadorian gangs, including Los Choneros, collaborate with foreign syndicates, creating a web of criminal networks.
The involvement of Mexican cartels, Brazilian urban gangs, and Albanian mafia cells has contributed to the escalating violence within the country.
The violence in Ecuador has been high, with the assassination of figures such as presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio. The Los Choneros gang, accused of being involved in the assassination.
President Daniel Noboa has authorized security forces to regain control of the prison system, saying that it has been lost in recent years.
Following Fito’s escape, incidents of unrest have been reported in at least six prisons across different provinces in Ecuador.
The prison agency reported incidents, including hostage situations involving guards. Videos on social media depict hooded inmates threatening officials with knives.
President Noboa has outlined a vision for tackling crime and violence in Ecuador. His proposals include the creation of a separate judicial system for serious crimes, militarizing borders with Colombia and Peru, and exploring innovative solutions such as offshore prisons for the most violent offenders.
Also Read: Elon Musk Reacts to illegal Drug use Claims