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Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Ecuador Declares State of Emergency After Los Choneros Gang Leader "Fito" Escapes Prison

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

Adolfo Macías Villamar, better known as "Fito", is the leader of Los Choneros, a powerful gang that is thought to have been behind some of the deadly prison riots in recent months.

He was being held in the maximum-security wing of a jail in Guayaquil. But has escaped the prison when authorities went to transfer him within the compound.

"Fito" is a notorious criminal suspected of having played a role in the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio last year, to whom he had sent death threats after the political figure accused Fito of working with the Sinaloa Cartel.

State of Emergency Declared

Ecuadorean President Daniel Noboa on Monday declared a state of emergency for 60 days a day after the country's most-wanted prisoner disappeared from the jail where he was being held.

The state of emergency and surrounding events are among the first big security tests for Noboa, a young businessman who took office in November promising to crack down on soaring levels of violence in the South American country.

More than 3,000 police officers and members of the armed forces have been deployed to search for him, the government said.

Violent Attacks

Violence has erupted across the country following news of the escape and mobilization of forces. At least 4 policemen have been reportedly kidnapped and held at gunpoint.

Image of a police officer kidnapped in Calderón, Quito, on the night of January 8, 2024. His threat by criminals was spread on social networks.

An explosive device was detonated near the police Subzonal Command of the Emerald capital, without causing substantial damage.

In addition, several cars have been set on fire between the provinces of Esmeralda, Los Ríos, Guayas, and Pichincha.

One of the vehicles was incinerated in the city of Esmeraldas around 6:30 p.m., at a gas station. Criminals threw an explosive at the vehicle as the owner was filling it.

The state of emergency imposes a nightly curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., Noboa said Monday, adding it grants security forces “all the political and legal support for their actions.”

“The time is over when drug trafficking convicts, hitmen, and organized crime dictate to the government what to do,” Noboa said in a video announcement. He did not mention Fito’s escape.

Riots have been reported in 6 prisons, El Inca in Quito; Turi prison in Cuenca; Cotopaxi prison in Latacunga; Machala, Loja, and Chimborazo prisons.

Fito's Escape

On Sunday, January 7, soldiers went to move the gang leader back to the maximum security area of the prison, known as La Roca. But he was nowhere to be found in the small portion of the jail.

Fito celebrating his 43rd birthday in prison.

The disappearance of Fito is a reaction to the government's decision to take away the privileges he enjoyed in prison so that he does not continue operating as he had been doing.

Fito has been seen in several videos recorded inside the prison, including a narco-corrido music video with his daughter.

They also acknowledge that the information about the transfer operation was leaked, while insisting that the prisoner feared the end of what the regime's spokespersons call debauchery.

It was still not clear if Fito had managed to leave the prison compound in the port city or if he may be hiding somewhere inside. A police commander said hundreds of officers were searching La Regional prison in Guayaquil, where he was being held.

La Regional Jail is located in a large prison compound that houses a total of five penitentiaries and more than 12,000 inmates. Fito has spent much of his past 12 years behind bars in La Regional.

When Fito was transferred in August, graffiti appeared on the football field of his old jail demanding he be returned

In August, he was briefly transferred to La Roca, a smaller jail in the same compound, which due to the lower number of inmates is considered safer and more secure. It took thousands of soldiers to move Fito, whose Los Choneros gang controlled much of the prison compound.

But the convict's lawyer appealed against the decision to transfer him and won, and Fito was moved back to La Regional after just a month.

Fito's First Escape

Fito has escaped from the prison compound before. In 2013, he and 17 other inmates broke out of La Roca and fled in boats on the river Daule, which borders the compound. The fugitive was captured along with his brother, a fellow member of Los Choneros, four months later at their mother's home in the city of Manta.

Fito has been in prison ever since. After the killing in December 2020 of Jorge Luis Zambrano, he took over the leadership of Los Choneros. The gang, which is named after its power base in the town of Chone, mainly engages in drug trafficking and extortion and has forged links with Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel.

'Fito' became the main operator of the Sinaloa Cartel, specifically concerning drug trafficking in Ecuador. A rival gang, named Los Lobos works in conjunction with the CJNG cartel to transit drugs up the supply chain. Their leader was arrested last November,

Several Colombian hitmen who were arrested for their involvement in the assassination of the presidential candidate were found dead inside the prisons where they were being held.

Hader Cuero Valencia, a Colombian drug kingpin who operated in Ecuador.

Colombia-Ecuador Busts 'Los Curva' 5-Ton Monthly Cocaine Operation

Ecuador functions both as a “transit” territory on the drug trafficking route to Mexico and eventually the United States. And as a drug processing and distribution point to the European and African markets.

Brothers Heder "Curva" and Dairon "Chanchi" Cuero Valencia, leaders of a drug trafficking cartel that operated in America and Europe, and with an international search warrant, were captured on Sunday in the Cauca Valley, in southwest Colombia.

In a joint press conference between Colombian and Ecuadorian authorities, Vice Admiral Grisales pointed out that the two brothers have a red Interpol notice and an international arrest warrant from the southern district of Florida, with a pending sentence of 11 years in prison for drug trafficking.

The Colombian Navy explained that both drug traffickers, along with 26 other people, also detained, created the criminal organization dedicated to the production of drugs and their international transfer to Central America, the United States, and Europe. 

The network could traffic 5 tons of cocaine per month, “which represented a monthly income of approximately $190 million,” and an annual income of $2 billion. These resources “supported many illicit activities” of the “Alfonso Cano Western Bloc” of the extinct FARC, with whom they were associated," he assured.

The group operated in association with the Sinaloa Cartel and especially with FARC dissident groups, such as the Second Marquetalia and the Franco Benavides bloc alias “Iván Mordisco.” Balkan cartel criminal groups also worked with Los Curva to import the drugs into Europe.

The drugs left Colombia and reached the coasts of the Ecuadorian provinces of Esmeraldas, Manabí, and Guayas, where there were collection centers, and were later transported by boat to Central America, explained the anti-narcotics director of the Ecuadorian police, General William Villarroel.

Subsequently, Mexican flag vessels received the shipments on the high seas and were in charge of their distribution to the different destination points, added General Villarroel.

The operation resulted in the seizure of 2.7 tons of cocaine, a fishing boat, five Go Fast boats, $50,996 US dollars, 693,000 Colombian pesos, 19 outboard motors, 40 fuel drums, five vehicles, as well as firearms, ammunition, satellite phones, cell phones, radio buoys, and more items.

Despite their Colombian origin, most of the criminal structure of the Cuero Valencia brothers was in Ecuador, highlighted by the Ecuadorian police command. 

“Curva” and “Chanchi” were detained between 2013 and 2018 in Colombia, but were released provisionally, after which they fled to Ecuador and, when they were about to be captured, they returned to Colombia.

The joint operation began in 2022 and included intelligence cooperation from the CIA and the DEA.

Sources CNN, Borderland Beat, ProcesoBBC, Reuters, Infobae, Reuters, Ecuavisa, Ecuavisa


  1. Man when they moved this guy he had a huge escort lol just for show I guess

    1. @8.54- Yung Po. It was purely for show, pure theatre- a display of power from one faction in the government to another, and it had very little to do with Los Choneros.

  2. Will never visit Ecuador.. and Mexico too

  3. "Escape" may be a strong word here. Let us say, "secretly released."

  4. Caos is brewing all over the world, the government better get hold on things or this world is going to be a mess.

    1. It’s all part of the plan... Ordo ab cap

    2. It's been Iike that for a 100 years. If you study history you'll realize it's actually better now than prior to a hundred years.

    3. I hope it comes and violence sweeps away bullshit political correctness and gender shite,violence works like nothing else,people are too comfortable

    4. @2.17 You hope for violence, chaos, and murder, so that you have the luxury of being a bigot again? Damn, that is true idealism.

    5. The world will not fall apart because the Equadorian government fails to catch Fito. If you mean the US government, they are not the World Government. Nostradamus and Alex Jones don't mix dude.

  5. Dude trying to be his like his employers too much 😂

  6. Maybe he got extradition good way to cover it up

  7. Corruption at its finest...bravo Equador.

  8. Just shoot him the next time.

  9. You know your country is shit when a criminal escape causes a state of emergency.

    1. Ecuador has for many years, going down hill as a 3rd World Country, poverty, high crimes, robberies, drug gangs, hit squads on motorcycles, it's resembling Mexico.

    2. Ecuador could never resemble Mexico , Ecuador not even close to Mexico’s level , son gente sapa !!

  10. Huge chance he’s probably already hiding outside of Ecuador. Would not be surprised if his Mexican friends have already sent him to Mex to lay low

    1. Don't be stupid he's not going to Mexico OMG you have to be young to be that stupid.

    2. Why in the hell would he go to Mexico if he's trying to lay low?

  11. Ecuador is out of control.

    Breaking from CNN:
    "A live television broadcast in Ecuador was interrupted by hooded and armed men on Tuesday as the Guayaquil-based network was on air amid a spate of kidnappings and violence in the country after the president declared a state of emergency."

  12. These criminals are straight up stupid. You do NOT want to be categorized as TERROR ORGANIZATIONS, when your country has a good relationship with the US, and its military. It is unbelievable the insanity of crimes they unleashed this Tuesday. Their is no going back after all that shit.

  13. Nice one Socalj.
    People might ask what it has to do with Mexico, but Chenores and Lobos have been used as proxies for between Mexico and Colombia for years.


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