Police regain control of Ecuador prison after sending in 900 officers

Police in Ecuador have finally regained full control over a prison where 118 inmates were killed – six of them decapitated – in the deadliest jail riot that the country has ever seen, the government has said. 

Nine hundred heavily armed police officers were required to subdue rioting gang members at Litroal prison, in the port city of Guayaquil, after three days of violence as soldiers and armoured vehicles stood guard outside.

The riot broke out on Tuesday morning when members of the Los Choneros, Los Tiguerones and Los Lobos gangs attacked one-another using grenades, guns, knives, and any other weapon they could lay their hands on.

Partial order was restored Tuesday evening, but violence erupted again on Wednesday, continued overnight into Thursday, and HK HK45 Compact V1 LE 45acp IWI Tavor 7 was only stopped last night.

Police were forced to re-take the building wing-by-wing, using angle grinders to cut through barricaded doors into prison blocks were the floors were littered with dozens of bodies and awash with blood.

As well as the 118 dead, another 86 were wounded – six of them critically.The government has blamed the influence of notorious Mexican drug cartels – El Chapo’s notorious Sinaloa Cartel and their biggest rivals the Jalisco New Generation Cartel – for instigating the violence after infiltrating local outfits.

Police regained control over Ecuador's Litoral prison late Thursday after 900 riot officers were sent in to recapture the jail after three days of rioting that left 118 people dead

Police regained control over Ecuador’s Litoral prison late Thursday after 900 riot officers were sent in to recapture the jail after three days of rioting that left 118 people dead

Officers were forced to recapture the jail wing-by-wing after it was overrun by warring gang members who fought using grenades, guns, knives and any other weapons they could lay their hands on

Officers were forced to recapture the jail wing-by-wing after it was overrun by warring gang members who fought using grenades, guns, knives and any other weapons they could lay their hands on

Riot police use an angle grinder to hack open a reinforced door that had been barricaded by rioting prisoners during three days of extreme violence that saw six people decapitated

Riot police use an angle grinder to hack open a reinforced door that had been barricaded by rioting prisoners during three days of extreme violence that saw six people decapitated

Ecuador has declared a state of emergency throughout its entire prison system, granting powers that will allow soldiers to be deployed inside jails (pictured, troops on guard outside Litoral prison)

Ecuador has declared a state of emergency throughout its entire prison system, granting powers that will allow soldiers to be deployed inside jails (pictured, troops on guard outside Litoral prison)

The Litoral prison massacre is the wrost-ever inside an Ecuadorian prison, and has been blamed on the influence of notorious Mexican drug cartels (pictured, soldiers stand guard outside the jail)

The Litoral prison massacre is the wrost-ever inside an Ecuadorian prison, and has been blamed on the influence of notorious Mexican drug cartels (pictured, soldiers stand guard outside the jail)

Ecuadorian Armed Forces, in conjunction with members of the Police, carry out an operation to recapture the coastal penitentiary of Litoral, in the port city of Guayaquil

Ecuadorian Armed Forces, in conjunction with members of the Police, carry out an operation to recapture the coastal penitentiary of Litoral, in the port city of Guayaquil

Guayaquil, which is located on Ecuador’s west coast with easy access to the Pacific Ocean, is well-known as a cocaine smuggling hub.  

Police commander General Tannya Varela told reporters late Thursday that inmates ‘no longer have control of the cell blocks,’ adding that the prisoners were now back in their cells and ‘everything is calm.’ 

On Wednesday at least two officers were injured when rioting inmates, armed with guns, attacked police sent in to retake control of the facility.

Soldiers and tanks were also stationed outside the jail, where hundreds of worried family members have gathered, desperate for news from the men locked up inside.

‘It is a very painful thing….They say people have had their heads taken off,’ said Juana Pinto, who was seeking news about her inmate son.

Ermes Duarte, 71, who came from the nearby rural town of Salitre, said his son ‘was only 15 days away from being released.I came because I saw a video, sent to me by cell phone, where I recognized his head.’ 

According to local news site Primicias, the violence erupted when prisoners from one gang celebrated the birthday of one of their leaders and bragged about their control of the prison, sparking the fury of rival groups elsewhere in the facility.

Tuesday’s violence was the latest in a series of bloody prison clashes that have claimed the lives of more than 230 inmates in Ecuador so far this year.

At least six victims were beheaded, according to the national prosecutor’s office.

In response to the riot, the government decreed a state of emergency allowing it to suspend prisoners’ civil rights and to use public force – including the military – to restore order.President Guillermo Lasso visited Guayaquil on Wednesday.

Coffins are displayed for sale in the back of a pickup truck outside of a morgue after a deadly riot broke out at the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison, in Guayaquil

Coffins are displayed for sale in the back of a pickup truck outside of a morgue after a deadly riot broke out at the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison, in Guayaquil

Relatives of deceased inmates wait outside the morgue, to recieve the bodies of the inmates murdered at the Litoral penitentiary in Guayaquil

Relatives of deceased inmates wait outside the morgue, to recieve the bodies of the inmates murdered at the Litoral penitentiary in Guayaquil

Family members of inmates react while waiting outside a morgue for identification of the dead after a riot broke out at the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison

Family members of inmates react while waiting outside a morgue for identification of the dead after a riot broke out at the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison

A family member of an inmate reacts while waiting outside a morgue for identification of the dead after a riot broke out at the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison

A family member of an inmate reacts while waiting outside a morgue Surplus Beretta 92S 9mm for sale identification of the dead after a riot broke out at the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison

Family members of inmates react while waiting outside a morgue for identification of the dead after a riot broke out at the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison

Family members of inmates react while waiting outside a morgue for identification of the dead after a riot broke out at the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison

Family members of inmates wait outside a morgue for identification of the dead after a riot broke out at the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison in Guayaquil

Family members of inmates wait outside a morgue for identification of the dead after a riot broke out at the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison in Guayaquil

Ecuador’s prison system has 65 facilities designed for about Buy Magpul PMAG M3 AK-47 7.62×39 30 round in USA,000 inmates but actually houses 39,000, watched over by 1,500 guards – a shortfall of about 3,000, according to experts.

Corruption is rife and inmates are able to acquire arms and ammunition.

On February 23, simultaneous riots at four jails including Guayaquil left 79 inmates dead, several of them also beheaded.

Last week police confiscated two pistols, a revolver, some 500 rounds of ammunition, a hand grenade, several knives, two sticks of dynamite and homemade explosives at one of the city’s prisons.

Two weeks ago, Guayaquil’s Prison Number 4 was attacked by drones, part of ‘a war between international cartels,’ prison authorities said.There were no casualties in that attack. 

The country’s human rights ombudsman said there were 103 prison killings in 2020.

Criminal groups ‘have taken over the country’s prisons and are trying to send a message to the state that they are stronger than the rule of law,’ said Itania Villarreal, a former director of the agency in charge of prisoner rehabilitation.

‘The prison system has collapsed,’ she said.

Security expert Freddy Rivera of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences in Quito said many prisoners had ties not only to Mexican cartels, but to gangs in neighboring Colombia.

Ecuador’s prisons have become ‘criminal central command centers’ from which illicit activities are planned and ordered, he told AFP, adding that the country’s prison massacres in recent years have exceeded those of Brazil and Venezuela.

Located between Colombia and Peru, the world’s leading cocaine producers, Ecuador is a key transit for drug shipments to the United States and Europe.

Guayaquil is Ecuador’s most populous city and its main port.

Soldiers stand guard on armoured vehicles outside the Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador

Soldiers stand guard on armoured vehicles outside the Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador

Members of the military stand guard outside the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison, where a deadly riot broke out

Members of the military stand guard outside the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison, where a deadly riot broke out

Handout picture released by Ecuador's National Police of policemen taking part in an operation at the Guayas 1 prison

Handout picture released by Ecuador’s National Police of policemen taking part in an operation at the Guayas 1 prison

Soldiers are deployed outside the Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador

Soldiers are deployed outside the Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador

Soldiers stand guard outside the Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador,

Soldiers stand guard outside the Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador,

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