Conflicts & War

Relatives of gang leader ‘Fito’ land in Ecuador after deportation from Argentina

Quito, Jan 19 (EFE).- Relatives of the Ecuadorian gang leader José Adolfo Macías, also known as ‘Fito,’ arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on Friday, after being deported from Argentina.

They arrived on a military plane a few hours after they were arrested in a gated community on the outskirts of Córdoba.

Although neither the identities nor the numbers of those detained have been confirmed by officials, local Argentine media said the detainees include Macías’ wife, Inda Mariela Peñarrieta, and three of their children: Michelle, 21; Ilse María, 12; and Lian Sejam, 4.

Also detained were domestic worker Denny Yadira Laines, Javier Macías (Fito’s nephew), and Ángel Zambrano, a family friend, according to Argentine media.

Macías’ family reportedly moved to Argentina earlier this month, shortly after the leader of the criminal organization Los Choneros escaped from the Litoral prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city.

His escape happened just before Ecuadorian authorities were about to transfer him to a maximum security prison. His whereabouts remain unknown.

He was in solitary confinement as part of President Daniel Noboa’s plan to regain control of the country’s prisons from drug gangs.

Macías was sentenced in 2011 to 34 years for drug trafficking, organized crime, and homicide.

His Los Choneros gang is also allegedly linked to Mexicos’ Sinaloa Cartel and has been at the center of several escapes, including the most recent on Jan. 7.

Macías’ escape triggered a wave of violence in Ecuador, with the government declaring an internal conflict against the criminal groups.

Incidents that led to widespread security operations and more than 2,300 arrests included the interruption of a live television broadcast by gunmen, explosions in several cities, and the kidnapping and murder of police officers and prison guards.

Since 2020, more than 450 prisoners have died in a series of prison massacres between rival factions.

The gang wars have also spilled over into the streets, making Ecuador one of the most violent countries in the world in recent years, with about 45 homicides per 100,000 people in 2023, the most in its history. EFE

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