At least 53 people have been arrested in Ecuador following a wave of drug trafficking attacks Tuesday in the coastal cities of Guayaquil, Durán, and Esmeraldas.
Fifty-three criminals have been captured and we will bring them to justice so that they pay for their misdeeds. Let the drug criminals know that our hand will not tremble, President Guillermo Lasso said Wednesday in a broadcast message.
The head of state also pointed out that these detentions had been carried out by combined Army and Police forces after a state of exemption was declared earlier this week in the provinces of Guayas (southwest) and Esmeraldas (north), where more than 18 attacks took place.
The assailants targeted patrol cars, police posts, gas stations, and a healthcare center, leaving at least six dead, five of whom were reported to be law enforcement officers.
Lasso insisted these were deliberate attacks of sabotage ... orchestrated by narco criminals who sought to generate fear and chaos but have not succeeded.
With the support of the Armed Forces and the National Police we are deploying all necessary actions to confront this enemy: organized crime and drug trafficking. Our objective: to recover peace, Lasso went on.
They will not intimidate us, they will have an answer for their actions, Lasso also said.
He also claimed that the attacks were in retribution for the Government's actions against drug trafficking, which have led to the seizure of over 300 tons of drugs and the dismantling of various gangs.
Drug-trafficking violence also plays a key role in the country's prisons, where over 400 inmates have been killed in the past few years in a recurrent riot scenario.
Interior Minister Juan Zapata told reporters during a press conference Wednesday that eight firearms, 227 rounds of ammunition, three rifles, three pistols, 60 detonating capsules, and eight sticks of dynamite were seized from the outlaw's caches in Esmeralda and Guayas, in addition to 600 envelopes of controlled substances, 13 cell phones, a motorcycle, a vehicle and three suits of police uniforms, while in the province of El Oro (south), two people were arrested with 16,416 sticks of explosives, 1,200 sticks of dynamite, 150,000 sticks of dynamite, and a truck.