Ecuador Police Arrest Associate of Sinaloa Cartel’s “El Chapo” Guzmán
By Dialogo July 02, 2013
Authorities in Ecuador recently captured a drug trafficker suspected of being a key operative for the Sinaloa cartel, which is led by fugitive kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán.
On June 6, agents of Ecuador’s Drug Enforcement Directorate captured alleged El Chapo operatives Telmo Remigion Castro Donosi — known as “Capi” — and six other alleged drug traffickers. The agents made the arrests as part of Operation Galaxia.
Ecuadorian security agents have been keeping an eye on Capi since 2009, when he was put on trial for drug trafficking. Capi, a former captain in the Ecuadorian Army, was acquitted.
“We have just dismantled a criminal group that allegedly worked with the Sinaloa cartel, six members and their leader, Telmo Castro,” Interior Minister Jose Serrano wrote on his Twitter account. The suspects include Mexicans, Ecuadorians and Colombians, Serrano said.
“We can even go as far as saying that they were the ones who negotiated and transported the largest amount of drugs along with the Sinaloa cartel,” he said.
A “huge blow” to El Chapo
Operation Galaxia was in effect for eight months before Capi and his alleged co-conspirators were arrested, Serrano said, adding that the capture is “a huge blow to drug trafficking” and that Capi “caused great damage to our country.”
Security agents also seized 300 kilos of cocaine, a small airplane and several grenades. Officials said Capi intended to send the grenades to El Chapo’s forces in Mexico.
Capi’s group operated in the provinces of Manabí, Santa Elena and Los Ríos, and had been operating in Ecuador since 2010, officials said.
Security agents arrested Capi and the other suspects during simultaneous operations in the provinces of Los Ríos, Guayas and Azuay. They seized a Centurion 2 airplane on a runway in the El Empalme region of Guayas.
Some of the suspects were arrested while packing the aircraft with cocaine, authorities said. Capi and his top lieutenant, Wilder Emilio Sánchez Farfan — also known as “Gato” — were captured as they supervised loading of the aircraft. The suspects were captured following a brief shootout. No one was killed.
The Sinaloa cartel has a strong presence in Ecuador, while Los Zetas operates in Guatemala and Honduras. The two cartels need connections to local gangs to operate in those and other countries, said Vicente Sánchez Mungia, a security analyst at Mexico’s Colegio de la Frontera.
“The infiltration and presence of this type of criminal organization would not be possible without a local network at their service,” Sánchez said. “That’s what transnational crime is; organizations specialized in illegal activities and whose operations go beyond borderlines.”
International cooperation is crucial in the battle against such criminal organization, Sánchez said.
“This is not the first time a South American government has taken action against a Mexican drug cartel. In Colombia, authorities recently seized properties that allegedly belonged to the Sinaloa cartel,” the security analyst said.
“What this means is that there has been persistent activity of these criminal groups in these and other remote places,” Sánchez said. “We have to remember that we are talking about transnational criminal organizations, even if their highest ranking leaders are Mexican. The same way as in the legal market, they make alliances with other organizations, even if they don’t last long due to the lack of trust among them.”
Between May 2010 and April 2012, Ecuadorian security agents destroyed five clandestine labs used to produce methamphetamines. The laboratories were built on the orders of Capi and Gato, authorities said.
El Chapo in Ecuador
The Sinaloa cartel has been operating in Ecuador for years:
• In June 2012, Ecuadorian authorities in Isla Puna seized a partially built submarine, a small airplane, a fast boat and two tons of cocaine. The submarine, airplane, boat and drugs all belonged to El Chapo, authorities said.
• In May 2012, a small airplane with Mexican tags crashed in the province of Manabí, in northeastern Ecuador. Authorties found the bodies of two men, both Mexican nationals, and $1.4 million in cash. The two men were working for El Chapo, authorities said.
• In April 2012, Ecuadorian National Police arrested El Chapo’s top enforcer in the country, Cesar Demar Vernaza Quiñonez, who is also known as “El Empresario.” El Empresario was the leader of a gang known as “Los Templados.” El Empresario and Los Templados transported and protected drug shipments going through Ecuador for El Chapo, authorities said.
• In February 2012, El Empresario escaped from an Ecuadorian prison. Security agents in Colombia recaptured El Empresario in April 2013. Cooperation between Ecuador and Colombia led to the arrest, officials said.
• In January 2012, the Ecuadorian Coast Guard spotted a submarine in the Gulf of Guayaquil. The crew sank the vessel before the Coast Guard could get there. The Coast Guard rescued the crew. The submarine belonged to El Chapo, who used it to transport drugs, authorities said.
how great, no? this is all good, pardon me Congratulations to the Ecuadorian authorities for this great hit on the destroyers of many innocent lives. Good, it's about time, now only the main one is missing, congratulations to the colleagues in Ecuador