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Ecuador police announce arrest of major gang leader in Panama

by Derek Andrews
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The Ecuadorian police announced Friday the arrest of Julio Alberto M. A., also referred to as “Negro Tulio,” the chief of the Chone gang, in Panama. He’s implicated within the murder of prosecutor Cesar Suarez in January 2024, who was investigating organized transnational crime in Guayas province.

On June 1, Ecuadorian authorities confirmed that Julio M., alias “Negro Tulio,” chief of “Los ChoneKillers,” arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He was detained alongside Alexandra E. in Panama via coordination with Panamanian authorities and Ecuador’s nationwide police. The people are believed to belong to the terrorist group “Chone Killers.”

Prosecutor Suarez was gunned down in his automobile in Guayaquil. Two suspects have been initially arrested for his homicide, which police mentioned had the hallmarks of an assassination. The arrest of “Negro Tulio” in Panama is a big improvement within the case. Ecuador is at present engaged in a warfare in opposition to drug cartels which have been utilizing the nation’s ports to ship narcotics to america and Europe. The federal government has declared a state of emergency and deployed troopers to prisons and the streets of Guayaquil, the nerve heart of the anti-gang operations.

The seize of “Negro Tulio” comes as Ecuador is cracking down on highly effective legal gangs like Los Lobos, whose chief Fabricio Colón Pico was additionally just lately arrested. These teams have been implicated in a surge of violence, together with the homicide of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicenio final yr.

Nonetheless, the escalating violence has raised issues amongst Ecuadorians, who just lately voted in a referendum to approve stricter safety measures to fight the crime wave.

Ecuador has change into a hub for transnational legal networks because of its strategic location between the world’s high cocaine producers, Colombia and Peru, and its giant ports. Colombian armed teams, Mexican cartels, and Albanian networks all have a presence within the nation, subcontracting Ecuadorian gangs for drug trafficking and cash laundering operations.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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