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Ecuador: State of emergency declared after notorious drug gang boss escapes from prison | World News


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A state of emergency has been declared in Ecuador after one of the country’s most-notorious drug gang bosses escaped from prison.

Adolfo Macias – also known as Fito – was first reported missing from his cell on Sunday.

Ecuador‘s prosecutors then filed charges against two prison guards as part of their investigation into the alleged escape.

The leader of the Los Choneros gang was serving a 34-year sentence in La Regional prison for drug trafficking and murder.

His reported escape occurred on the same day he was scheduled to be transferred to a maximum security facility in the city of Guayaquil.

President Daniel Noboa announced the state of emergency, which will allow the authorities to suspend citizens’ rights and send the military into prisons.

A state of emergency has been declared in Ecuador Pic: AP
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The state of emergency means the armed forces can enter prisons. Pic: AP

The decree is in effect for 60 days, with Mr Noboa saying he will confront crime inside prisons and will not stop until he “brings back peace to all Ecuadorians”.

In 2013, Macias fled a maximum security prison but was recaptured a few weeks later. Police are investigating whether his most recent escape mirrors his one from a decade ago.

Los Choneros is one of the gangs authorities consider responsible for a spike in violence that reached new highs last year with the assassination of the presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.

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The gang has links with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, according to authorities.

Mr Villavicencio had claimed Los Choneros threatened him, but authorities have been unable to formerly accuse Macias or his group for being behind the murder.

Even from within prison, Macias was believed to have been able exert his influence over the gang, including control of drug trafficking routes and territory.

Since 2021, at least 400 inmates have died within prisons in Ecuador, according to authorities.

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