State of Emergency in place after 5 Ecuador cops killed; attacks seen as declaration of war by gangs

A state of emergency was declared in Ecuador as five police officers were killed and multiple others wounded in nine separate explosions in two cities on Tuesday in response to prisoner transfers from overcrowded and violent penitentiaries.

(Video Credit: CGTN Global Watch)

President Guillermo Lasso is blaming the violence on drug gang retaliation for his government’s efforts to crack down on their activities that ferry drugs to the United States and Europe.

He called the vicious attacks against police officers an open declaration of war by gangs in a video address. The killings bring to mind the wave of cop killings here in the United States that are sweeping the country.

“What happened between last night and today in Guayaquil and Esmeraldas clearly shows the limits which the trans-national organized crime is willing to surpass,” Lasso asserted, according to the New York Post. “We are taking actions which worry them, hence the violent reaction.”

He then implemented a state of emergency in the Guayas and Esmeraldas provinces for 45 days, restricting freedom of assembly and movement. Security forces will step up operations there and a curfew will be imposed from 9 pm onward.

Six of the explosions occurred early Tuesday morning in a number of areas in the western city of Guayaquil, according to police. Two officers were killed in an attack on a patrol car.

Three other officers were shot and killed later in the day in the same city, police reported on Twitter.

There were three separate explosions in Esmeraldas. Seven prison officers were reportedly taken hostage by inmates at a prison to protest prisoner transfers. The hostages were released after negotiations according to SNAI, the New York Post reported.

Violence in Ecuador’s prison system has skyrocketed. Over 400 people have reportedly died from gang violence since 2020. Violence in Ecuador has grown sharply in recent years, including decapitations and prison riots. Mexican cartels which are recruiting local gangs to smuggle cocaine are being blamed for it.

Two headless bodies were left dangling from a pedestrian bridge at the beginning of this week, The Guardian reported.

“In certain areas, the state has been displaced,” Col. Mario Pazmiño, the former director of Ecuador’s military intelligence stated, referring to parts of Guayaquil and Ecuador’s Pacific coast. “We are talking about criminal rule with this new escalation in the level of violence.”

SNAI reports that 515 prisoners have been transferred from Guayaquil’s Penitenciaria, Ecuador’s most violent prison, to other institutions across the country. The transfers are intended to reduce overcrowding and ensure the safety of the prison population.

A month ago, clashes between prisoners in one of Ecuador’s largest prisons located in Latacunga left at least 15 inmates dead. Prisoners evidently fought with guns and knives before guards managed to regain control of the facility just south of the capital Quito.

The worst prison clash was in the port city of Guayaquil in September of 2021, when more than 120 inmates died.

Last year Ecuador’s police seized a record 190 tons of drugs, according to the BBC.

One person tweeted, “Hey democrats this is why we need STRONG border security!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Another stated, “‘Ecuador is a transit point for drugs (#fentanyl) destined for the #UnitedStates and #Europe.’ 5 #Police Officers Murdered. Cartels run much of the world; have foothold in America’s big cities. Politicians play footsie.”

In the United States, gangs are running rampant as many recruit Americans, paying them large sums to traffick drugs, weapons, and humans across the border.

More and more international gangs are crossing our southern border, putting Border Patrol agents, police, and Americans at risk.

“El American broke the news that members of the Tren de Aragua, the largest criminal organization in Venezuela (after the government), had crossed the southern border and were living in Orlando, Florida. The news came a week after Breitbart had claimed that Venezuelan criminals were crossing the border to live in the U.S.—more than likely continuing their criminal enterprises,” the American Conservative reported in October.

“The source told El American that the criminals were living in Bogotá, Colombia, and were able to change their identity by bribing Venezuelan officials. They traveled by land to Mexico’s northern border and crossed to the U.S., then established themselves in Orlando, where one of the members bought a car and applied for a Florida license plate with his new identity,” the outlet added.

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