Ecuador’s drug kingpin José Adolfo ‘Fito’ Macías lived ‘like a king’ while locked up. His jailbreak shines a light on the country’s lawless prisons

February 20, 2024

Macías’ prison cell is seen in these videos filmed by members of the military last year. Los Choneros and their main rival, Los Lobos, are believed to be allied with Mexican drug cartels in a war for dominance over Ecuador’s drug trade. Los Lobos saw an opening amid a violent power struggle in Los Choneros when Macías became its leader in 2020, say experts. In a music video shared online last year, the Los Choneros leader can be seen petting a rooster, apparently inside Guayaquil prison complex. But the press secretary of Ecuador’s president reckons the Los Choneros leader was told about an impending prison transfer.