Large-scale search – Ecuador: another escape from high-security prison


Amid a brutal power struggle between drug cartels and authorities in Ecuador, five prisoners escaped from the high-security prison in the port city of Guayaquil on Friday evening. According to police, two of them were arrested a short time later.

The large-scale search for the other refugees continued. Shortly after the outbreak, two helicopters and drones were seen using ground spotlights to search the area around the huge prison complex that houses the country’s most dangerous criminals. A larger contingent of police and army was deployed. Neither the authorities nor the prison administration initially commented on the incident.

Wave of violence by drug cartels
Since last Sunday, Ecuador has been facing an unprecedented wave of violence from drug cartels, whose members have terrorized the entire country with prison riots, hostage takings and attacks on police officers. The reason was the escape from prison in Guayaquil of José Adolfo Macías alias “Fito”, one of the most powerful drug barons in the country.

Since then, at least 18 people have been killed and 178 prison guards and other staff taken hostage. President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency for the entire country and gave the military broad powers to fight “terrorist” criminal gangs.

More than 22,400 soldiers have been deployed
Since then, more than 22,400 soldiers have been deployed in the fight against organized crime. According to the authorities’ latest report, 859 suspects were arrested, 25 escaped prisoners were recaptured and five “terrorists” were shot. 57 hostages were released.

A brutal video from the prisoner-controlled prison in the southwestern town of Machala shows a prisoner’s body wrapped in plastic being thrown onto the street. Police have confirmed the authenticity of the video.

Other footage from the past two days shows arrested suspected gang members being taunted and abused by soldiers or forced to sing and hit each other.

Center of international drug trafficking
Ecuador, with a population of about 17 million, lies between Colombia and Peru, the world’s two largest cocaine producers, but has long been considered relatively peaceful and stable. In recent years, the country itself has become a hub for international drug trafficking. Since then, violent crime has also increased dramatically. According to estimates, criminal gangs in the country now have more than 20,000 members.

Source: Krone


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