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

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 17 NOV 2020

A series of assassinations on Ecuador’s southern border with Peru have been attributed to gang members fighting for control of…

ECUADOR / 11 JUL 2011

The arrest of a suspected member of the Russian mafia in Ecuador has prompted a U.S. official to describe it…

COCAINE / 6 JUL 2018

The growing role of Guayaquil, Ecuador as a hub for international cocaine trafficking reflects the changing dynamics of the Colombia-Ecuador…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…