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The United States has imposed sanctions on Los Choneros, a notorious criminal gang in Ecuador, and its leader, according to a statement from the US Treasury Department.

Amid escalating violence in Ecuador, which led President Daniel Noboa to initiate a military crackdown and declare a 60-day state of emergency, these sanctions target the gang known for its involvement in extortion, murder, and drug trafficking.

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In a statement, Brian Nelson, Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, remarked, “Drug trafficking gangs such as Los Choneros, many with ties to powerful drug cartels in Mexico, threaten the lives and livelihoods of communities in Ecuador and throughout the region.” The sanctions aim to disrupt the financial operations of Los Choneros by freezing any assets they hold in the United States and prohibiting Americans from engaging with them. “We stand in support of Ecuador in its fight to combat drug trafficking, curb the proliferation of prison gangs and prison violence, and take back its streets,” Nelson added.

The crackdown comes as Los Choneros and its leader, known as Fito, have been linked to a surge in violent incidents, including the assassination of a presidential candidate and attacks on local media. The escape of Fito from prison sparked a declaration of internal armed conflict by President Noboa, reflecting the severity of the threat posed by Los Choneros.



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