May 28, 2024

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4000 soldiers in prison after assassination of presidential candidate

4000 soldiers in prison after assassination of presidential candidate

Members of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces are numbered in Guayaquil, Ecuador. 8 stands guard outside the Zonal Jail. Gerardo Menoscal/AFP

About 4,000 Ecuadorean soldiers and police took part in an operation Saturday inside the prison where Fito, the leader of the country’s powerful gang, is being held for allegedly threatening him, officials said.

These security forces entered Prison No. 8 in Guayaquil (Southwest) early in the morning, in armored vehicles, where Jose Adolfo Macias, leader of a powerful gang called Fito, was “Coneros“, has been detained since 2011. In a photo released by authorities, he is from the front, hands on his head. In another he is lying on the floor in his underwear with a dozen other prisoners.

Fito’s name has been in the headlines in Ecuador since Wednesday’s shooting death of Fernando Villavicencio, 59, a centrist candidate who came second in polls ahead of the August 20 presidential election. He said last week that the leader of the gang, who was sentenced to 34 years in prison for murder and drug trafficking, had threatened to kill him. A former journalist and congressman, Villavicencio investigated drug trafficking in his country.

Six Colombian nationals were arrested in the case, and a seventh was killed in a shootout with the candidate’s bodyguards. Drug cartels are powerful in prisons across the country. Since 2021, more than 430 inmates have died in clashes between rival gangs inside the compound, with dozens dismembered and their bodies burned.

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