International manhunt for trafficker implicated in assassination

GUAYAQUIL, EC – An international manhunt has been initiated by Ecuadorian authorities following the disappearance of an inmate, dubbed as “the most-wanted prisoner,” from a maximum-security prison in Guayaquil.

The inmate, Jose Adolfo Macias, also known as “Fito,” is the reputed leader of the notorious Los Choneros criminal organization. He was serving a 34-year sentence for serious crimes, including drug trafficking and murder.

Macias was implicated in the murder of Fernando Villavicencio, a presidential candidate in Ecuador, who was assassinated in August of the previous year after a rally in Quito. Villavicencio had previously accused Los Choneros and Macías, alleging their association with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, of intimidating him and his campaign team days before his murder.

The disappearance of Macias from the Guayaquil prison is currently under investigation by the prosecutors.

In an effort to locate the fugitive, a large-scale operation involving over 3,000 personnel has been launched, according to a statement made by the presidential spokesman, Roberto Izurieta, during a press conference.

The Los Choneros gang, led by Macias, has been linked to various crimes in Ecuador, including extortion, murder, and drug trafficking. The organization is also alleged to exercise control over some of the country’s prisons.

Macias was transferred to the maximum-security facility in Guayaquil three days after Villavicencio’s assassination. The relocation was intended to ensure the safety of both citizens and other detainees, as stated by then-president Guillermo Lasso.

Prior to his assassination, Villavicencio had reportedly received multiple death threats. Patricio Zuquilanda, Villavicencio’s campaign manager, stated that the threats had led to one arrest after being reported to the authorities.