Los Lobos leader and suspect in Villavicencio assassination arrested in Puerto Bolívar

Nov 28, 2023 | 0 comments

Ecuador National Police have arrested a criminal gang leader and key suspect in the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio. When he was taken into custody Sunday, Jaime Enrique S., one of the country’s most wanted men and leader of Los Lobos, was armed and carrying a large sum of cash in the port town of Puerto Bolívar.

In addition to a possible role in the Villavicencio murder, police say Jaime Enrique S. may be responsible for dozens of murders in Guayaquil, Machala and Manta and within Ecuador’s prisons. The gang is also believed to have links with the Mexican Jalisco New Generation cartel, for which it smuggles cocaine from Colombia through Ecuador’s port cities to the Europe through ties with Albanian drug groups.

Gunmen believed to belong to Los Lobos opened fire as the officers transferred Jaime Enrique S. to police headquarters. One policeman was injured in an exchange of gunfire. In response, soldiers were deployed to guard the facility where the suspect was locked up.

In a statement, police said Jaime S.C. was carrying $13,5000 (£11,000), the provenance of which “he could not explain”, as well as a small quantity of cocaine.

Los Lobos is estimated to have 8,000 members, mostly in the Guayaquil area, and is one of the most powerful criminal organizations in Ecuador. Many of its members are in prisons but the gang continues to operate from behind bars and is accused of having instigated some of Ecuador’s bloodiest prison riots. Prosecutors claim that at least half of the 300 murders committed in the country’s prisons over the past three years have a connection to Los Lobos.

Daniel Noboa, who was sworn in as the country’s new president on Thursday, has promised to tackle drug trafficking and break the stranglehold the gangs have on the country. On his first full day in office, he repealed a policy that allowed for the possession of small amounts of drugs, arguing that it had encouraged micro-trafficking in schools and “created an entire generation of drug-addicted children.”

Prosecutors say repeal of the policy will also help the judicial system put more drug gang members behind bars. They say current drug possession rules allow some large-scale drug dealers to escape prosecution.


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