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Argentina expels family of gang boss Adolfo Macías

The wife and children of a wanted Ecuadorean gang leader have been detained and expelled from Argentina.

Argentina’s security minister said the move against Adolfo Macías Villamar’s family showed the country is a “hostile territory for narco-criminals”.

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The gang leader, known as Fito, is at large after escaping from an Ecuadorean prison earlier this month.

Ecuador is under a state of emergency as a nationwide search for the organised crime boss continues.

Argentine authorities released footage on Friday of several people they say have links to Fito under police escort aboard an air force plane.

Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich told a press conference they were detained at a property in the region of Córdoba and had been returned to Ecuador. She said eight people were deported in total, including associates and family members.

Interior Minister Guillermo Francos said Argentina would “not be a den for criminals”.

The move comes as Ecuador’s government continues to hunt Fito while attempting to quell an outbreak of gang-related disorder that has plunged the country into crisis.

Fito, who is head of the Los Choneros gang and has been accused of orchestrating earlier prison violence, vanished from his cell in a facility in the city of Guayaquil.

He has also been linked to the murder of Fernando Villavicencio, an anti-corruption presidential candidate who was shot dead last August.

In the aftermath of the escape, Ecuador’s President Daniel Noboa declared war on the country’s gangs and imposed tough security conditions, a stance which has been met with unprecedented levels of violence by Ecuador’s gangs.

Earlier this week, authorities said they had regained control of the country’s prisons after days of rioting – but the country’s most wanted fugitive remains elusive.

Mr Noboa has called on authorities in neighbouring Colombia – where several powerful drug cartels are based – to begin searching for Fito, according to AFP news agency.

He has also reiterated plans to deport foreign criminals in a bid to alleviate overcrowding in Ecuador’s volatile prisons.

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