Second National Assemblyman and 12 others ordered arrested in Metastasis corruption case

Mar 18, 2024 | 0 comments

The Attorney General’s office filed corruption charges against 13 people on Friday, including former National Assemblyman Ronny Aleaga and ordered their arrests. Aleaga, a member of the Correista Citizen’s Revolution party is the second assemblyman facing criminal charges following last week’s arrest of Social Christian Assemblyman Pablo Muentes.

Former National Assemblyman Ronny Aleaga

Attorney General Diana Salazar announced last week that the arrests were “imminent”, pending the conclusion of her office’s investigation.

Prosecutors say the suspects were part of a “corruption scheme” operated by gang leader Leandro Norero, most of them accepting bribes of illegal drug money.

In addition to Aleaga, those ordered arrested are Miriam Delgado, former prison commissioner; Yanina Villagómez, former Guayas Province prosecutor; Katherine Pilar, a former prison guard who allegedly provided weapons and drugs to inmates; and Juan Pablo Jaramilla, identified by assassinated presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio as one of Norero’s “top lieutenants.”

Among the charges against Aleaga is an effort to “silence former presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.” As an Assemblyman, Aleaga claimed Villavicencio slandered and defamed him for suggesting he [Aleaga] had connections to organized crime. Villavicencio was assassinated in August, two weeks before the election.

Prosecutors believe that Aleaga is out of the country, possibly in Colombia. If he does not return to Ecuador and surrender voluntarily, they say they will issue an international arrest warrant.

Leaders of the Citizens Revolution party say Aleaga “must face justice and be punished” if charges against him are proven. “We will not cover up acts of corruption even if they committed by members of our own movement,” said Assemblyman Blasco Luna following the announcement of the arrests. “Our position is that he deserves a fair and transparent trial.”

Former president Rafael Correa defended Aleaga last week, claiming the evidence against him is “weak.”

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