"Fito," the most notorious gang leader in Ecuador, disappears from his cell

“Fito,” the most notorious gang leader in Ecuador, disappears from his cell

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"Fito," the most notorious gang leader in Ecuador, disappears from his cell

Adolfo Macías Villamar is the leader of the feared Los Choneros gang.Image: REUTERS


“Fito,” the most notorious gang leader in Ecuador, disappears from his cell.

An Ecuadorian gang leader who was sentenced has disappeared from his cell and is being sought after by hundreds of police.

Leader of Los Choneros, a formidable gang believed to be responsible for several of the recent violent jail uprisings, is Adolfo Macías Villamar, also referred to as “Fito”.

He was being imprisoned in a Guayaquil jail’s maximum-security wing.

His absence was reported by the police early on Sunday, and they were unable to locate him anywhere in the prison wing.

Fito is a well-known gangster who is suspected of having contributed to the murder of Fernando Villavicencio, a presidential contender, to whom he had threatened to kill him last year.

He regularly defies the law. Most recently, he released a sleek music video called “narcocorrido” that glorifies his illegal escapades and was partially taped in jail.

In the video, Fito’s daughter Queen Michelle can be heard singing along with the Mariachi Bravo duet as they praise the alleged “man of honour” who is the criminal.

His daughter croons, “I take my hat off to you, Fito, my Dad,” saying that “good blood flows through his veins.”

Fito can be seen openly conversing with other prisoners and petting a fighting cock.

The video’s ability to be captured while a prisoner raises the possibility that the jail’s electronic device restriction has been broken.

As of Sunday night, it was unclear whether Fito had successfully escaped the port city’s prison compound or if he was still within hiding.

A police commander stated that he was unable to “neither confirm nor deny” the escape or provide an estimate of the prisoner’s duration of absence.

He reported that he was being held at La Regional prison in Guayaquil, where hundreds of officers were searching.

The La Regional jail is part of a vast prison complex that holds over 12,000 prisoners spread over five penitentiaries.

Fito has been incarcerated in La Regional for the most of the last 12 years.

He was temporarily moved in August to La Roca, a smaller prison inside the same complex that is thought to be safer because it has fewer inmates.

Fito’s Los Choneros gang controls a large portion of the prison compound, therefore it needed thousands of soldiers to transport him.

Within a month, Fito was returned to La Regional when his attorney successfully challenged the order to transfer him.

Fito is no stranger to breaking out of prison. He and seventeen other prisoners escaped La Roca in 2013 by rowing along the river Daule, which runs alongside the camp.

Four months later, at their mother’s house in Manta, the fugitive and his brother, a fellow member of Los Choneros, were apprehended.

Since then, Fito has been incarcerated. Following the assassination of Jorge Luis Zambrano in December 2020, he assumed control of Los Choneros.

Named for its stronghold in the town of Chone, the gang mostly deals in drug trafficking and extortion, and it has connections to Mexico’s formidable Sinaloa cartel.

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