Jose Adolfo “Fito” Macias, a notorious gang leader, has been moved to a high-security prison through an extensive military and police operation. This transfer follows claims made by slain presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio that he received death threats from Macias.
Ecuadorian authorities took decisive action, deploying numerous soldiers and police officers to shift Macias, who is also known as “Fito,” to a maximum security prison. The leader of the potent criminal group “Los Choneros” was previously serving a 34-year sentence for organized crime, drug trafficking, and murder at Prison 8 in Guayaquil.
Esta madrugada en seguimiento del Decreto 823, se ha ejecutado el traslado de alias Fito a la cárcel de La Roca por la seguridad de los ciudadanos y de los detenidos. El Ecuador va a recuperar la paz y la seguridad.
De generarse reacciones violentas, actuaremos con toda la fuerza… pic.twitter.com/N2cwoEH2zp
— Guillermo Lasso (@LassoGuillermo) August 12, 2023
President Guillermo Lasso provided insight into the operation, sharing images and videos on social media platforms. These visuals portrayed Macias in the custody of security personnel and lying face-down on the floor in his underwear alongside other inmates. President Lasso explained that “Fito” had been relocated to the maximum security facility referred to as “The Rock.”
The murder of Villavicencio, who was shot after leaving a campaign rally in Quito, was attributed to organized crime by President Lasso. Prior to his death, Villavicencio had expressed concerns about threats he received from an “emissary” of the gang leader, indicating that mentioning “Los Choneros” put him in danger.
Six Colombians have been arrested in connection with Villavicencio’s murder, while another individual was killed in a confrontation with Villavicencio’s bodyguards. However, authorities have not disclosed the identity of the person who orchestrated and financed the attack.
As a result of Villavicencio’s tragic death, his running mate will now take his place in the upcoming August 20 elections. The Build Ecuador Movement, for which Villavicencio was a candidate, will substitute Andrea Gonzalez as the presidential contender. Gonzalez is expected to participate in the presidential debate in Quito. Her focus on environmental protection, including matters related to oceans, mangroves, wildlife trade, and deforestation, resonates with her party’s agenda.
The party also noted that they will announce the name of the vice presidential candidate, chosen from those who shared Villavicencio’s struggles, in the near future. While ballots have already been printed, votes designated for Villavicencio will automatically be transferred to Gonzalez in accordance with the law.