HomeNewsBriefEcuador Captures Suspects From 'Most Dangerous' Robbery Gang
BRIEF

Ecuador Captures Suspects From 'Most Dangerous' Robbery Gang

ECUADOR / 2 MAY 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Authorities in Ecuador have captured members of what they call the "most dangerous" group dedicated to bank robbery at a national level, in an example of an apparently well-organized and sophisticated homegrown criminal operation.

In an operation labeled "Quimera," Ecuadorean police carried out 24 raids in three western cities in which they arrested 10 men and seized weaponry including assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, revolvers, bulletproof vests and an explosive device, reported El Comercio.

The detained suspects allegedly formed part of a structure involved in the assault and robbery of banks and armored vehicles, which authorities had been investigating for nearly a year. According to officials, the group's leader was among those arrested.

Interior Minister Jose Serrano said the group was responsible for "all of the assaults" on companies responsible for transporting money in the country, and had carried out between 100 and 150 attacks. On his Twitter account, Serrano also labeled the group the "most dangerous that operated in the country assaulting armored cars and banks."

InSight Crime Analysis

The range of firearms belonging to the group, the number of assaults carried out, and the fact it allegedly operated around the country indicates a higher level of organization and more sophisticated operation than is generally associated with bank robbery. A similar phenomenon was discovered in Brazil earlier this year, with heavily armed groups committing hit-and-run bank robberies in geographically distinct rural areas.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Ecuador

In the Brazilian case, the groups were alleged to have links to the First Capital Command (PCC) prison gang. The current case begs the question of where this Ecuadorean group would have received weapons such as assault rifles and grenades, and whether they could also have links to a larger organization.

Ecuador is a gun smuggling hotspot for arms often later sold on to Colombian rebels or drug traffickers. It has also long been an important transit point for drug shipments originating in Colombia, and both Mexican cartels and Colombian criminal groups have developed a presence in the country. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ECUADOR / 25 FEB 2016

An estimated 300 Ecuadorian fishermen have been arrested on drug trafficking charges by foreign authorities in the last three years,…

ECUADOR / 11 AUG 2011

Police in Ecuador announced the seizure of 400 kilograms of cocaine bound for West Africa.

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 16 JAN 2013

The FARC rebel group has been increasing its arms purchases since the beginning of peace talks with the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…