Prison riot in Ecuador kills at least 116 people: Mexican cartels and Ecuador gangs

Prison riot in Ecuador kills at least 116 people: Mexican cartels and Ecuador gangs

Chika Mori and Kanako Mita

Modern Tokyo Times

Gang war broke out inside a prison in the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador. According to the latest reports, at least 116 prison inmates were killed in violent clashes that broke out in several parts of the prison.

Fighting erupted on Tuesday after rival gang members broke into another part of the prison. Once rival gang members entered the rival prison wing, death flowed quickly and brutally. Reports state that some prison inmates were beheaded. Therefore, one can only imagine the grizzly ways in which people were killed.

By Wednesday, the situation had allegedly calmed down after the police entered the prison in high numbers. However, on Thursday, some gunshots and explosions were heard sporadically by local people. Hence, 400 police officers have been sent back into the prison to restore order.

The BBC reports, “Local media are reporting that the brutal killings could have been ordered from outside the prison mirroring a power struggle between Mexican cartels currently under way in Ecuador.”

It seems obvious that the fighting had little to do with an uprising inside the prison because only two police officers suffered from injuries despite the carnage. This compares with the deaths of at least 116 prison inmates after rival gangs began killing each other.

Ecuador is a transit nation where cocaine is delivered to lucrative markets. Henceforth, cocaine from Colombia and Peru is smuggled into this transit nation before reaching its final destination. Therefore, gangs in Ecuador have forged alliances with infamous Mexican drug cartels.

Indeed, the suspicion is that the six beheadings are linked to Mexican cartels. After all, drug cartels from Mexico seek to spread fear even among hardened criminal gangs.

Reuters reports, “Tuesday’s clash was the most deadly act of violence ever reported in Ecuador’s penitentiary system. Similar clashes took place in February and July 2021 in various prisons throughout the country. At least 79 people died in the February violence, and in July at least 22 lives were lost.”

The Guardian reports, “Col Mario Pazmiño, the former director of Ecuador’s military intelligence, said the bloody fighting shows that “transnational organized crime has permeated the structure” of Ecuador’s prison system, adding that Mexico’s Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels operated through local gangs.”

Lee Jay Walker says, “The death toll this year inside the prison system in Ecuador is evidence that the situation is spiraling out of control. It also signifies the increasing threat emanating from cartels in Mexico and how local gangs in Ecuador are following similar methodologies. Of course, the role of drug cartels throughout the region is nothing new. However, the size of the latest bloodbath is evidence that all areas of the prison system have been compromised.”


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