(CNN Spanish) — Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa signed this Monday a decree of state of emergency for the entire country, including prisons, arguing “serious internal commotion” after several incidents, including the murder of Adolfo Macías alias “Fito”. This Sunday’s escape information is also included. Leader of Los Choneros, a criminal gang allegedly linked to drug trafficking.
The President argues that violence and crime have recently become worse, and have become even more severe, in some of the country’s penitentiary centers.
“The time is over when people convicted of drug trafficking, hitmen and organized crime used to dictate to the government in power what to do. “What we are seeing in the country’s prisons is the result of the decision to confront them,” Noboa said in a message to the nation on Monday.
He reported that “narco terrorist” groups intended to intimidate his government, and he ordered police and military commanders to intervene in the control of prisons.
He stressed, “We are not going to negotiate with terrorists and will not rest until we return peace to Ecuadorians.”
The declaration of a state of emergency will be valid for 60 days and will establish the activation of police and armed forces to control disturbances.
The text of the decree indicates, “This declaration requires an emergent and immediate intervention by state institutions to protect and guarantee security and integrity, as well as other rights of citizens, public order, social peace and established order. “
Curfew from this Monday
The state of emergency also includes curfews to limit meetings and actions that could endanger public order.
It restricts freedom of movement for the country’s production, journalists and others, except in basic service sectors, health care, neurological and strategic economic sectors, from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am every day.
The atmosphere in the jails became heated due to Fito’s escape.
The leader of the Los Choneros drug cartel, Jose Adolfo Macias Villamar, better known by his nickname “Fito,” escaped from prison in the coastal city of Guayaquil on Sunday, according to authorities. The government said more than 3,000 police and members of the armed forces have been deployed to search for him.
Hours later, incidents were reported in at least six prison centers in different provinces, the Care Service for Persons Deprived of Liberty (SNAI) confirmed to the press.
“In light of these incidents, SNAI, together with the police and armed forces, have activated the security protocols established for these cases and are working in coordination to restore normalcy in the freedom centres,” the organization said.
The Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office opened an ex officio investigation following the escape of Fito, leader of the Los Choneros gang, among the most dangerous people operating in Ecuador linked to maritime drug trafficking to Mexico and the United States in coordination with the Sinaloa Cartel. Is one of. Oliver Sinisterra Front in Mexico and Colombia, according to the Insight Crime Research Center.
Ecuador, home of the Galapagos Islands and a tourism-friendly dollar economy, was once known as the “Island of Peace,” located between the world’s two largest cocaine producers, Peru and Colombia.
But Ecuador’s deep ports have made it a major transit point for cocaine to reach consumers in the United States and Europe. And its dollar-based economy also makes it a strategic location for smugglers involved in money laundering.
According to Reuters, Fito was sentenced to 34 years in prison in 2011 for crimes including drug trafficking and murder.
Analysts previously told CNN that Ecuadorian gangs like the Choneros were working with foreign syndicates including Mexican cartels, Brazilian urban gangs and even Albanian mafia cells, fueling the ongoing conflict in the country. Was.
Authorities have accused Choneros of controlling Ecuador’s main prisons, which have long been hotbeds of violence in the country. According to officials, security forces have struggled to combat gangs inside overcrowded prisons, where inmates often take control of penitentiary wings and run criminal networks from behind bars.
— with information from