An Ecuadorean police squad enters the premises of Ecuador’s TC television channel after unidentified gunmen burst into the state-owned television studio live on air on January 9, 2024, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, a day after Ecuadorean President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency following the escape from prison of a dangerous narco boss
MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – Fabricio Colon Pico, the leader of Ecuador’s second-largest criminal gang, Los Lobos, has escaped from prison as a result of riots, the country’s National Service for Comprehensive Assistance to Adult Persons Deprived of Liberty and Teenage Offenders of Ecuador (SNAI) said Tuesday. “On the morning of January 9, clashes broke out between inmates, the national police and prison staff at Chimborazo Prison No. 1. Following the incident, Colon P., who was deprived of liberty and was in the prison, escaped from custody with other inmates,” SNAI said in a statement on X (formerly Twitter). Following the incident, 12 people who fled with Pico have already been detained in hot pursuit, but the gang’s leader himself managed to escape, with Ecuador’s police and army continuing the search for him, SNAI added. SNAI also said that inmates of five Ecuadorian prisons in the provinces of Azuay, Canar, Napo, Tungurahua and Cotopaxi had taken 125 prison security personnel and 14 administrative staff hostage. SNAI added that security forces’ operations at prisons in the provinces of Chimborazo and Napo have allowed the release of 11 hostages since the riots began. The Ecuadorian Ministry of Education on Tuesday suspended full-time education and announced the transition to online education at all education institutions across the country through January 12 amid unrest in the country. Earlier in the day, Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa declared a state of internal armed conflict amid the hostage-taking riots in various cities and prisons and designated several organized crime groups as “terrorist organizations.” He also ordered Ecuador’s army to “neutralize” criminal groups operating in the country. On Monday, Noboa declared a 60-day state of emergency in Ecuador following prison riots and the escape of a major gang leader. The unrest came as authorities raided prisons in search of weapons and in an effort to disperse gang members to different facilities. During Sunday’s search of the Guayaquil prison, law enforcement officials failed to find the leader of the Los Choneros gang, Jose Adolfo Macias Villamar, also known as Fito, who is considered the most dangerous criminal in the country.