Ecuador arrests six people connected to assassination of presidential candidate

August 11, 2023

Six people were arrested in connection with the assassination of an Ecuadorean presidential candidate.

The arrests came as President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency following the violence.

The details

"A high-ranking police official said the Colombians are part of a drug-trafficking criminal organization," the Wall Street Journal reported.

"He said some of the suspects had been arrested in the past in Ecuador and had also committed crimes in Colombia, where U.S. officials say the cocaine trade is flourishing," it added.

The murder

"The six men were captured hiding in a house in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, said the report, which was reviewed by The Associated Press. Officers also seized four shotguns, a 5.56-mm rifle, ammunition and three grenades, along with a vehicle and a motorcycle," the outlet reported.

"Fernando Villavicencio, 59, who was known for speaking up against drug cartels, was assassinated in Quito on Wednesday, less than two weeks before a special presidential election. He was not a front-runner, but his death deepened the sense of crisis around organized crime that has already claimed thousands of lives and underscored the challenge that Ecuador’s next leader will face," it continued.

What's next?

"The motives and affiliations of the six individuals remain unclear as of press time, though Villavicencio had previously indicated that people associated with the Mexican Sinaloa cartel had threatened him. Ecuador has become subject to increased presence of drug cartels in recent years," Just the News reported.

"After Villavicencio's death, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso vowed to address the violent act, saying 'I assure you that this crime will not go unpunished. Organized crime has gone too far, but they will feel the full weight of the law,'" it continued.

The shocking assassination follows increased unrest in the region. Less than two years ago, Haiti's president was also assassinated in a nation troubled by brutal gang activity.

The state of emergency may also impact Ecuador's elections. With just two weeks until voters head to the ballot box, the nation faces major decisions moving forward.

For now, the nation is glad to see six people reportedly involved in the tragedy arrested as details emerge over the violence of the political leader.


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