In Ecuador, the president has declared a state of emergency following the escape of the country’s most notorious drug criminal, nicknamed ‘Fito’.
By Joost van der Wegen
Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency in the country yesterday after it became known that the notorious criminal Fito had escaped from the prison where he served his 34-year sentence. RTL News reported this on Tuesday. “I have just declared a national state of emergency so that the armed forces receive full political and legal support in their actions,” he says in a video.
According to the English-language Ecuador Times, it has been unclear where the drug boss is since Sunday. It took a meeting of the National Security Council to definitively determine that the whereabouts of the leader of the Choneros drug organization is unknown.
The mayor of the city of Guayaquil, where Fito escaped, said 100 security officers were stationed at strategic points “to strengthen security.” This includes elite troops, and many video surveillance cameras.
Drug crime website Insight Crime reports that Ecuador will be the tenth most violent country in Central and South America in 2022, with an 83 percent increase in homicides. It entered the top three in 2023, due to violence between gangs fighting over drug profits. There has been a huge increase in cocaine trafficking in Ecuador.
Most drugs that were illegally smuggled into the Netherlands, via the port of Rotterdam, come from Ecuador. In 2023, a presidential candidate was murdered in the country, with suspicion of the involvement of an assassination squad working for the Mexican drug cartels.
Fito’s real name is José Adolfo Macías Villamar. He is considered the most powerful criminal in Ecuador. Fito is the leader of ‘Los Choneros’, a criminal gang seen as the armed wing of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel in the country. Read a portrait of Fito on Crimesite here.
Image: ‘Fito’ during a previous arrest in Ecuador.