Ecuador Declares State of Emergency After Notorious Drug Gang Boss Escapes from Prison
Adolfo Macias, also known as Fito, has escaped from prison, prompting Ecuador to declare a state of emergency. Macias, the leader of the Los Choneros gang, was serving a 34-year sentence for drug trafficking and murder before his reported escape from La Regional prison on Sunday. Prosecutors have filed charges against two prison guards as part of their investigation into the alleged escape.
The escape occurred on the day Macias was set to be transferred to a maximum security facility in Guayaquil. In response, President Daniel Noboa announced the state of emergency, allowing authorities to suspend citizens’ rights and send the military into prisons.
This decree is effective for 60 days, with President Noboa stating that he will confront crime inside prisons and work to bring peace to all Ecuadorians. Police are investigating whether Macias’ recent escape mirrors his previous escape from a maximum security prison in 2013.
Los Choneros has been linked to a spike in violence and has connections with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel. The gang is also believed to be responsible for the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio. Despite claims that Los Choneros threatened him, authorities have been unable to formally accuse Macias or his group of being behind the murder.
Even from within prison, Macias was able to exert his influence over the gang, controlling drug trafficking routes and territory. Since 2021, at least 400 inmates have died within Ecuadorian prisons, according to authorities.