By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador’s “most-wanted prisoner”, the chief of the Los Choneros prison group, disappeared from the jail the place he was being held, authorities mentioned on Sunday and launched an operation to find him.

Basic Cesar Zapata, the nationwide commander of police, advised a press convention that the nation’s armed forces had decided that one of many inmates within the Guayaquil jail was lacking.

Whereas Zapata didn’t point out the inmate by identify, the prosecutor’s workplace mentioned it might examine “the alleged escape” of Jose Adolfo Macias, the chief of Los Choneros.

Macias, whose alias is “Fito”, was sentenced in 2011 to 34 years in jail for varied crimes together with drug trafficking and homicide.

Los Choneros is a prison group authorities have linked to extortion, homicide and drug trafficking, amongst different crimes, and accused of controlling the nation’s principal prisons.

“We’re grateful for the braveness and dedication of the regulation enforcement forces, who, in an operation involving greater than 3,000 individuals, have intervened within the jail in quest of the most-wanted prisoner,” mentioned presidential spokesman Roberto Izurieta on the press convention.

Rival prison organizations regularly conflict in Ecuador’s overcrowded prisons and official numbers present greater than 400 inmates have died since 2021.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Modifying by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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