Ministers of the interior and defense resign over failure to capture drug lord

Apr 28, 2018

Ecuador’s interior and defense ministers resigned Friday after failing to meet President Lenin Moreno’s ten-day deadline to capture the leader of a Colombian drug trafficking group. The notorious “El Guacho” heads the Oliver Sinisterra Front, accused of kidnappings and murders near the Colombian border.

Lino Mauro Toscanini and Oswaldo Jarrín are the new ministers of interior and defense.

The front operates primarily in Colombia but has shipping and financial ties in Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador.

Moreno accepted the resignations of César Navas, interior minister, and Patricio Zambrano, defense minister, Friday morning. In the afternoon, the government announced that Lino Mauro Toscanini would replace Navas while Oswaldo Jarrín would take the reins at defense.

Moreno had set the 10-day deadline following the murder of three Ecuadorian journalists by the Sinisterra, two weeks ago. The group is also accused of killing four Ecuadorian marines in a roadside bombing two weeks earlier and of bombing a police station in Esmeraldas.

The governments of Ecuador and Colombia have offered a reward of $248,000 for the capture of Guacho.

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