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LATIN AMERICA | 19-01-2024 12:40

Relatives of Ecuador drug boss 'Fito' arrested and deported from Argentina

Security forces arrest and detain relatives of fugitive drug-boss Jose Adolfo Macías, alias 'Fito,' in Córdoba; Wife and children deported in early hours of Friday morning.

The wife and children of Ecuadorean drug boss Adolfo Macías, alias 'Fito,' who recently escaped from a prison in Guayaquil, were arrested in central Argentina and deported, local press reported Friday.

The relatives of Macías, leader of the Los Choneros cartel, whose escape sparked a wave of violence in Ecuador, were arrested in a private gated neighbourhood in Cordoba, reported La Naciôn, citing government sources.

According to the newspaper, personnel from the Argentine Federal Police (PFA) and the Córdoba security forces carried out the operation.

Macías’s wife, Mariela Peñarieta, 48, and their children Michelle Macías Peñarieta, 21, Ilse María Macías Peñarieta, 12, and Lian Sejam Macías Peñarieta, 4, were all detained by the authorities.

The relatives arrived in Argentina on January 5 and lived in a house in Country Valle de Golf, an exclusive area outside the capital, Buenos Aires.

Local daily Clarín reported that the four were deported in the early hours of Friday morning, and that President Javier Milei's government had taken the decision to expel the relatives from the country. 

Macías’s escape from jail, confirmed on January 8, has triggered a major security crisis in Ecuador, which has been followed by prison riots, kidnappings of police officers and attacks with explosives.

The spectacular takeover by armed men on a TV channel in the middle of transmission on January 9 shocked the country and led President Daniel Noboa to declare an "internal armed conflict" and order a relentless fight against some twenty drug gangs.

A score of cartel organisations are sowing terror in Ecuador and imposing their power from prisons. Cartels are retaliating against the government's firm-handed policies to confront these groups in a country that, until a few years ago, was considered peaceful.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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