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Ecuador News

Guacho’s brother captured in Colombia as operations against drug operation intensifies

The brother of former FARC commander Walter Patricio Arizala Vernaza, alias Guacho, has been captured in Colombia by an anti-terrorism task force. The apprehension of Juan Gabriel Arizala on Tuesday was made near Tumaco, in Nariño Department, about 60 miles north of the Ecuadorian border.

Juan Gabriel Arizala is displayed following his capture on Tuesday.

Guacho, leader of the so-called Oliver Sinisterra Front, refused to sign a peace treaty with the Colombian government in 2016 and is wanted for the kidnapping and murders of three Ecuadorian journalists as well as several bombings in Esmeraldas Province Ecuador, one of which killed four Ecuadorian soldiers. According to the governments of Ecuador and Colombia, he is allied with Mexican drug cartels, producing and transporting illegal drugs to North America.

Following his capture, Nariño prosecutor’s office said Juan Gabriel Arizala is being held on charges of “intent to commit criminal acts.”

“El Guacho” is wanted dead or alive.

According to the prosecutor, the arrest is further evidence that the Oliver Sinisterra Front is being dismantled through the joint efforts of Colombian and Ecuadorian police and military operations. “Piece by piece, man by man, we are taking apart this criminal organization and efforts will continue until it is completely eradicated,” said a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office. “We will capture El Guacho,” he added.

On June 4, six members of the Sinisterra Front were killed in a gunfight with a Colombian army unit near Tumaco.

In Ecuador, 21 suspected members of the front are being held in prisons throughout the country while prosecutors prepare cases against them.