Guards Taken Prisoner, Notorious Drug Kingpin Escapes

( – Ecuador is currently suffering from unrest and chaos after a notorious criminal kingpin escaped his prison hours before he was to be transferred. Six jails experienced a wave of rioting on Monday, January 8th, with some inmates taking the guards hostage, threatening to kill them should the government attempt to retake the facility.

Four police were kidnapped shortly after President Daniel Noboa issued a 60-day state of emergency in response.

The gang leader who escaped is colloquially known as “Fito,” his real name is Adolfo Macías Villamar. Police say that when they arrived to transfer him on Sunday morning, he wasn’t in his cell. That triggered a search of the maximum security wing of the prison which yielded no sign of him.

A spokesman for the Ecuadorian government Roberto Izurieta said that they believed Fito was tipped in advance that he was to be relocated to another cell. His current cell was spacious and decorated with painted walls, including murals. Two guards are being examined for their role in aiding Fito’s escape.

Fito is the leader of the Los Choneros prison gang, they’re believed to be responsible for much of the rioting in Ecuadorian jails over the last few years. The gang is well-connected and operates inside and outside of prisons. Its members have conducted assassinations and contract killings, as well as drug operations, blackmail, extortion, and other crimes.

The organization is allied with the Sinaloa drug cartel, and they actively work to smuggle cocaine through Ecuadorian ports destined for the United States and Europe.

Fito inherited the role from the previous leader, Jorge Luis Zambrano. Zambrano was assassinated in 2020 by an unknown shooter who shot him point blank while he was out with his family at a shopping center in the city of Manta.

Fito earned the ire of the authorities after recording a “narcocorrido” which is a music video that celebrates his criminal enterprise. The recording flouts a ban on electronic devices in jails across Ecuador.

President Noboa was elected in November of last year after another candidate was assassinated. Fito had allegedly sent death threats to the slain man just days before his murder.

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