Ecuador's president, Daniel Noboa, declared a state of emergency for the entire country, including the prison system, following the escape of a major drug cartel leader from prison in Guayaquil on Monday.
“I have signed the emergency law so that the armed forces get political and legal support for their operations.” On the streets and in prisons, the president revealed on his Instagram account.
The prosecutor's office made the statement Monday via social media
The measure, published for 60 days, authorizes Novoa to mobilize the military into the streets and enter prisons. “Severe internal chaos” in the country, as well as suspending citizens' rights. He also ordered a six-hour curfew from 11.00 pm to 5.00 am..
Soneros and their hunting
Fito is considered the leader of Ecuador's most feared gang, Los Soneros, which has bloody disputes over drug trafficking routes with other groups linked to cartels in Mexico and Colombia. The man disappeared on Sunday from a prison in Guayaquil where he had been serving a 34-year sentence.
Government Communications Secretary Roberto Izurieta told the Teleamazonas channel on Monday. “Most likely” there were “intrusions” about the immediate security operation at the prison and Fito escaped “hours ago”.
Nobowa added that his administration has taken “actions” to “regain control” of prisons that have become operational centers for drug organizations.
The leader of Ecuador's biggest drug cartel may have escaped from prison where he was serving a sentence “hours ago” in a crackdown on Sunday, the government said.
This is the second time “Fito” has escaped from prison. In 2013, along with other inmates, he managed to escape the restrictions of La Roca, a maximum security prison in Guayaquil. He was recaptured three months later.
The Communications Secretary noted, “State forces have been deployed to track down this highly dangerous individual.” Izurieta lamented the “level of infiltration” of criminal gangs in the state and called Ecuador's prison system “failing.”
Warning in prisons
Local media reported that the incidents involving prison guards in several of the country's prisons on Monday took place without any reports from the authorities.
A strong police force of 1,000 entered the small prison north of Quito called El Inca, while the army stood guard outside. After about five hours of fighting, uniformed officers regained control of the center, Police Chief Wilson Pavon said.
At the same time, videos recorded at different locations are circulating on social networks, in which groups of prison staff cry for their lives, while masked men brandish knives and threaten them. The guards read a statement on the video in which they ask Noboa not to “send troops into prisons that are death squads.” “Now we request your actions to be very cautious and please wait for our lives and our safety.”
At the regional prison where “Fito” was kept, trucks were recorded entering and exiting police and soldiers. In one courtyard, inmates had written “Baba Fito” and “Fatals GDR” on stones, referring to another criminal gang. On a playground in the same campus they painted “With Fito we sow peace.”
Ecuador's prisons have 31,321 inmates and Noboa announced plans to build two maximum security prisons in Bastasa and Santa Elena provinces to separate the most dangerous.
“Fito, the Lion”
“Fito” was last seen last September when he was temporarily transferred to another maximum security prison in Guayaquil after the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicenci.One.
Later, he appeared in photographs as obese, with long hair and a prominent beard. Thousands of uniformed officers guarded it in one of the largest military and police operations there by former president Guillermo Lazo.
A convicted felon who studied in prison to earn a law degree enjoyed privileges. Even before that, he starred in a video clip of a narcocarrido and his daughter sang.. The video for “El Corrido del Leon” by a group identified as Mariachi Bravo showed the boss of Los Soneros wearing a cap and reading a book in a prison cell.
According to experts, Los Soneros have an army of at least 8,000 men. The battle for power between the drug organizations has killed more than 460 prisoners since 2021 and killed them among themselves. Also, between 2018 and 2023, street homicides will increase by nearly 800 percent, from 6 to 46 per 100,000 people.
“Introvert. Thinker. Problem solver. Evil beer specialist. Prone to fits of apathy. Social media expert. Award-winning food fanatic.”