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Thursday, August 10, 2023

Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate Assassinated After Being Threatened by Sinaloa Cartel Tied Gang

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

A candidate in Ecuador's upcoming presidential election has been shot dead at a campaign rally. Fernando Villavicencio, a member of the country's national assembly, was attacked as he left the event in Quito on August 9, 2023. A member of his campaign team told local media that Villavicencio was getting into a car when a man stepped forward and shot him in the head.

Witnesses said Mr Villavicencio, 59, was shot three times. The suspect was also shot in an exchange of gunfire with security and later died from his injuries, the country's Attorney General said on social media. Current President Guillermo Lasso vowed the "crime will not go unpunished."

Update: The man who killed Villavicencio was reported to be Colombian, and 6 Colombian men were arrested as the "intellectual authors" of the assassination. More on the men and their connections in an upcoming article.

The suspected killer died on the way to a hospital, following a shootout with security.

Recent Threats

Last week, he said he and his team had been threatened by the leader of a gang linked to drug trafficking. The threat ordered him to talk speaking about the leader and his ties to the Sinaloa/Pacific Cartel. That leader is known as Adolfo Macías "Fito," head of 'Los Choneros' a prison gang and drug trafficking organization with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel and Colombian Cartels.

"In a police report in which a very serious threat from one of the bosses of the Sinaloa Cartel is revealed, I am referring to alias "Fito," against me and against my campaign team with a warning that if I continue referring to him, he will already its structure, they attacked me or made an attempt on my life”, said the candidate at a press conference.

“This confirms that indeed our campaign proposal seriously affects these criminals and here I am showing my face, I am not afraid of them. For 20 years I have gambled in this country against these criminal structures and I reiterate I am not afraid of them and I ratify my proposal to create a special prison with extremely high security. It will be one of the first works that I will promote as soon as I assume command to transfer "Fito" and other drug lords, hitmen, and other criminals to this maximum security prison,” Villavicencio pointed out.

Villavicencio, a former investigative journalist published a video on his Twitter account last year. It was a message by since assassinated drug trafficker Leandro Norero about his good relations with Los Choneros and its leaders. Villavicencio noted that: “Leandro Norero, former leader of Jalisco Nueva Generación, confirms the good relations and dialogues with Fito and JR, leaders of Los Choneros (Sinaloa). Who was interested in silencing the person who did business with Xavier Jordán and politicians?

Colombia Scandal

Fernando Villavicencio, denounced at the end of July possible connections between drug trafficking and prominent figures of the Government of Gustavo Petro in Colombia. This situation worsened with the arrest of Nicolás Petro, son of the Colombian president, who faced accusations of collaboration with drug trafficking.

According to Villavicencio, when referring to current socialism in Latin America, it is common to find relationships with illegal activities. He added that this scenario does not exclude Ecuador or the citizen revolution. 

Nicolás Petro and his former partner, Taik Vázquez, are accused of obtaining funds from the drug trafficker known as "The Marlboro man." He mentioned that it is estimated that more than 600 million Colombian pesos were originally destined to finance Gustavo Petro's campaign. However, investigations suggest that these resources were diverted for personal purposes, leading to accusations of illicit enrichment and money laundering.

He added that what connects Ecuador in this issue is the presence of Raisa Bulgarin, a candidate for the National Assembly for the Citizen Revolution. He mentioned that photos shared in Colombia show Bulgarin together with Nicolás Petro, David Vázquez, and Camilo Burgos. In addition, messages exchanged indicate that part of the funds was transferred from Barranquilla to Bogotá, with the participation of Camilo and Raisa.

He commented that an additional piece in this complicated puzzle is Vinicio Alvarado Espinel, linked to the electoral campaign of Gustavo Petro and also with campaigns in Ecuador, specifically with Luisa González and Andrés Araúz. Villavicencio concluded his message by calling on the Ecuadorian State Attorney General's Office to work together with Colombia and clarify these allegations, insisting on the need for transparency in the process.

Ecuador's Response

Current President Lasso, who will not be on the ballot, said he was "outraged and shocked" by the killing, adding: "Organized crime has come a long way, but the full weight of the law is going to fall on them." A recent rise in violent crime, fuelled by the growing presence of drug cartels in Ecuador, has been a central issue in this year's presidential campaign.

Last month, Lasso declared states of emergency and night curfews in three provinces following a number of killings linked to organized crime. As well as security, Villavicencio's campaign had focused on tackling corruption, a topic he had covered in an earlier career as a journalist, and reducing environmental destruction.

Villavicencio was one of 8 candidates in the first round of the election, although not the frontrunner. The first round of the presidential election is scheduled to take place on 20 August. His killing follows that of Agustín Intriago, mayor of the city of Manta, in July and Omar Menéndez, candidate for mayor in the city of Puerto López, in February. 

9 people were injured in the attack on Villavicencio, according to the Ecuadorian Attorney General's Office. Among those injured is a candidate for assembly and two police officers, said the Prosecutor's Office.

Who is "Fito"?

José Adolfo Macías Villamar, also known as "Fito," is the current leader, following the killing of the long-time leader in 2020. "Fito" is also one of the founders of the Los Choneros gang. He has been imprisoned in the Guayaquil Regional Jail. On February 23, 2021, the first prison massacre took place in Ecuador, with 79 deaths. The day before they had tried to kill "Fito." following the split of two Choneros cells, Los Tiguerones and Los Lobos. Last year, authorities got word that "Fito's" girlfriend had been living in his cell for a week. She attempted to escape wearing a guard's uniform after authorities were met with gunfire from the inmates. His family has also seen violence with his daughter being kidnapped and his son attacked in the last few years.
"Junior" killed in Colombia in 2023.

The last founding leader, Junior Roldan, was found dead in May 2023 after having fled to Colombia. He had been released from the same prison "Fito" is in only a few months earlier. The gang leader crossed into Colombia after he was shot and injured in March by members of rival gang Los Lobos.

The gang leader had fled to Colombia after surviving an assassination attempt in his native Ecuador, where he had been released from prison in February. Roldan was considered a fugitive after removing the electronic ankle bracelet he was fitted with upon release. He also survived another attack in which drones laden with explosives were set off above the prison wing in which he was locked up at the time.

Despite previous attempts on his life, his murder is not believed to be part of a gang war, according to Ecuador’s commander of police, Gen. Fausto Salinas, who did not provide further information on the circumstances of the killing.

Los Choneros

Los Choneros gang, named after its power base in Chone, primarily engages in drug trafficking and extortion and had become one of Ecuador’s most powerful prison gangs after many of its members were incarcerated, controlling various aspects of prison life and directing criminal operations from behind bars.

Los Choneros first emerged in the late 1990s as a drug trafficking organization. Authorities originally tied the group to a Colombian drug cartel, with control over Pacific trafficking routes to Mexico and the US. The arrests of several gang leaders in 2011 increased their powers within the prison system.

The gang had been linked to some of the deadliest prison clashes in recent months, resulting in the deaths of numerous inmates and beheadings. 

The gang has also established connections with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel in recent years, which has increased its influence and strength. The death of "Junior" left Adolfo Macias "Fito" as the only remaining founder of the gang.

Several rival, smaller gangs have united under the name Jalisco Nueva Generación, showing their connection to Mexico's CJNG Cartel.

UPDATE 8/10/23

Shortly after the assassination, a video was released on social media featuring a dozen or more armed men, disguised in all black claiming responsibility for the attack. They claimed to be part of the Los Lobos gang, tied to CJNG and a rival of Los Choneros and responsible for the killing of several of their members. They are displaying the Lobos gang signs as well.

These men said that the presidential candidate was assassinated for failing to fulfill his promises after receiving money for his electoral campaign. The alleged assassins also launched threats against another presidential candidate Jan Topic, whom they also accused of receiving money from organized crime.

However, this morning, a video, with likely imprisoned men in full view, not hiding behind any masks or weapons, denied that claim and stated that Los Lobos had nothing to do with the candidate's assassination.

"Ecuador, don't be fooled. We are the organized crime group Los Lobos. We don't cover our faces. Nobody speaks for us and we do keep the peace," says a man who appears surrounded by other gang members dressed in white.

"We make it clear that we have never assassinated government or civilian people. We clarify that the video circulating on social networks, in which he appears in a group of people with their faces covered and assault rifles posing as members of our organization, It's totally false."

"This makes it clear that other criminal groups want to destabilize the country and hold us responsible for the tragedy that Ecuador is going through right now," the spokesperson said.

"We ask that the authorities investigate and find those truly responsible. Do not be fooled by people who make videos, covering their faces so as not to assume responsibility for their actions, which threaten the State security." the men stated.


  1. Lol save that change for the liberal s

  2. Damn..Ecuador have some real crazy organized crime scene

  3. Fackkkkk CJNG tiene redes en todos los continentes y en mazatlan sinaloa brggggggaas

  4. Ecuadorian gangs do not have the strength of Mexican groups, who would not even try this.

    Could reflect the stupidity of Ecuadorian groups or their relative strength compared to the weaker Ecuadorian government.

    1. Villavicencio was in the middle of the pack of presidential candidates. I believe he was number four in polling about four weeks ago if I remember correctly. He shot up to number two in the last week after he started talking about taking measures similar to Bukele. His tough talk made him a real possibility to take the number one spot.
      He may have been killed because the gangs feared tough measures if he were elected.
      His assassination bodes poorly for Ecuador. The leading candidate for president, Luisa Gonzalez, is a radical left winger that's not expected to take strong measures against gangs if elected.
      This assassination has shook Ecuador to the core. Something similar to the Ayotzinapa case in Mexico. This could shift the dynamics of this election. We have to wait and see what the results will be. If Gonzalez is elected, I don't believe she will take tough measures against gangs.
      On the positive side, former president Rafael Correa improved the pay and training of Ecuador's police so we should at least see the police being successful in their investigation into this case.

    2. Good context. Thanks for your comment Detroit.

      Bukelismo seems to be the major idea of LATAM politics now

    3. Daughter Fujimori wants to run for President.

    4. Daughter Fujimori doesn't have the votes. Daddy is going to stay in prison even though I believe his sentence was too harsh. He did a good job for the people of Peru by reigning in the Shining Path. Despite the corruption they should have reduced his sentence for bringing peace to Peru.

    5. Fourth time is a charm?

  5. I think Richard Sakler should run for president. He is my hero, he created the best drug ever. And his dad is a legend for the drug game. He has the money and power. He has my vote. Sakler 4 president.

    1. 5:13:
      I don't think this was a serious comment. Putting Sackler in charge of drug policy is like putting a child molester in charge of a day care center.

    2. I just read that it was actually invented in Frankfurt in 1916 by Jewish chemists, originally marketed by the German Merck company (American Merck is a pirate brand) in cough syrup. The younger chemist died in a Polish ghetto in 1942.

    3. The Sacklers, like any big pharma are jews. That want to bring hell on Earth. Did they make anti-depressants or that drug for if you want to transition to female as a man? I think these animals do both.

  6. Mexico is a narco terrorist country. Invading South America North America Europe with its drugs and murders. Way to Mexico good job you are really an asset to the world. Thanks for all you do, Hey it’s been awhile since you murdered a priest or journalist qué pasa?

    1. 2:20
      Oh staying low smoking weed in the morning smoke weed in the evening
      Thanks for the compliment next we will invade Argentina

  7. KInd of like when Colosio was murdered in 1994 in Tijuana, changed the politics game ..

  8. The get a lot of heat international. Newspaper’s are full even doing follow ups on this.


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