Ecuador Military Rescued Miners From Kidnappers In A Jungle

Ecuador Military Rescued Miners From Kidnappers In A Jungle

The Ecuadorian military has rescued 49 miners kidnapped by Los Lobos, one of the nation’s most ruthless gangs.

Troops discovered the group in a makeshift camp in a forest near the rural town of Santa Martha, 217 miles south of Quito, on Wednesday, July 3. Initially met with gunfire from at least 23 Los Lobos members, the soldiers faced no injuries as the gang fled.

The military reported finding a camp covered with tarps and poles, where the miners were kneeling with their hands over their necks. During the operation, troops recovered a haul of weapons and mobile phones.

They also found the bodies of five people previously killed at the camp, four of which were dismembered.

Los Lobos is one of 22 gangs in Ecuador designated as terrorist groups. In June, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Los Lobos and its leader, Wilmer ‘Pipo’ Chavarria. The gang, with thousands of members, is Ecuador’s most prominent drug trafficking organization and a major source of violence in the country.

‘Drug trafficking groups with ties to powerful drug cartels threaten the lives and livelihoods of communities in Ecuador and throughout South and Central America,’ said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson, in a statement.

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