The President of Ecuador, Daniel Noboa, declared a nationwide state of emergency, including the prison system, in response to the escape of an extremely dangerous narco boss from a high-security cell. The escape triggered unrest in multiple penitentiaries, prompting the need for heightened security measures.
“I have just signed a decree for a state of emergency so that the armed forces have all the political and legal support in their actions” against these “narcoterrorists,” stated President Noboa on his Instagram account.
General Cesar Zapata, the national commander of police, confirmed that one of the inmates in the Guayaquil prison was missing, without mentioning the inmate’s name. However, the prosecutor’s office later indicated an investigation into the “alleged escape” of Jose Adolfo Macias, also known as “Fito,” the leader of the criminal group Los Choneros. Macias was sentenced to 34 years in prison in 2011 for various crimes, including drug trafficking and murder.
Los Choneros, known for its involvement in extortion, murder, drug trafficking, and control over the country’s main prisons, has been a source of criminal activity and violence in Ecuador.
Presidential spokesman Roberto Izurieta expressed gratitude for the law enforcement forces’ efforts, stating, “We’re grateful for the courage and commitment of the law enforcement forces, who, in an operation involving more than 3,000 people, have intervened in the prison in search of the most-wanted prisoner.”
Ecuador’s overcrowded prisons have witnessed frequent clashes between rival criminal organisations, leading to a significant number of inmate deaths, with official figures indicating over 400 deaths since 2021.