The inhibitors of telephone signal and the prohibition of entry of cell phones in the Social Rehabilitation Centers (CRS) of Guayaquil, Cuenca and Latacunga are not an impediment for 23 criminal gangs to continue operating in the country.
The ingenuity and cooperation of the cells of your organization, not yet detained, are the key to the commission of illicit acts. In the city of Guayaquil, for example, prisoners deprived of liberty use stretches of copper wire connected to the iron bars to reach the telephone signal and contact the outside.
Cell phones enter by parts, which are then armed. This was stated by César Peña, prosecutor of criminal guarantees. The most used equipment are the models that have the most telephone coverage and can be disassembled.
Visitors camouflage the pieces between their private parts or pay public officials to hide the devices and enter them. Just last August, agents of the Penitentiary Intelligence Unit (UIP) of the National Police discovered in the prison of the Main Port a uniformed officer with a team between the bulletproof vest.
However, this would not be the only way for bands such as Los Gorras, Choneros, Los Meza, Sayayín to execute extortions, charges, robberies and even murders outside the prison system.
According to Peña, there have been cases of detainees who take advantage of the conjugal visits to send, through their partners, orders for their partners. Only so far in 2018, three murders were committed from the Guayaquil regional.
One, Peña said, was allegedly committed by the Los Gorras gang. The other crime was planned by a detainee along with his sentimental partner, both sent to murder her husband. And the last one came from the women’s prison, in which the alleged leader of an organization apparently ordered the killing of former director Gavis Moreno.
On June 2, a prisoner died in the prison of Santo Domingo. Three days later, a fight between gangs left three dead and 33 injured in Esmeraldas jail. However, crimes also occur from the cells.
According to the Penitentiary Intelligence Unit, the most common crimes are extortion, micro-trafficking, fights, rape, murder and attempted murder. Figures from the National Directorate of Crimes Against Life (Dinased) indicate that on a national scale, from January to September 5 of this year, 12 murders occurred in the prisons.
In the same period of 2017 there were seven deaths. An IPU agent explained that the CRS vehicle scanner in Guayaquil does not work. The uniformed one maintained that for that reason some products like white arms, drugs, money, cigarettes and liquor are camouflaged among tools for workshops, medicines or food.
Among the mechanisms detected by the agents for the entry of these items are the human ‘mules’, the launch of the objects from outside the CRS and the recruitment of public servants. Only in the regional of Guayaquil, according to IPU figures, so far this year 148 cell phones have been confiscated and 28 people were arrested in flagrante delicto.
The criminal gangs, in their majority, are grouped and even associate with each other inside the centers. In large percentage are led by men. However, in the CRS of women there is one: that of Gerald, according to the Prosecutor. This can be understood to a large extent by the difference in the number of deprived of freedom according to figures from the Ministry of Justice: 35 193 men versus 2 944 women nationwide.
The criminal relationship is even reversed. The prosecutor revealed that there are gangs that plan murders from outside the prison. According to the procedural investigations, the degree of participation in the offenses is determined.
According to Peña, the registry of visits allows to establish the relationship and the links that are made. Not only are the sentimental couples who make the bridge between the leader and the organization, there are also members of the organization who come to see their ‘bosses’. This reality is not alien to the knowledge of the authorities that control the penitentiary system.
The Deputy Minister of Attention to Prisoners of Liberty, Liliana Guzmán, confirmed to this newspaper the presence of criminal gangs in the prisons of the country. Guzmán said that 25% of the prisoners do not subscribe to the rehabilitation programs that the entity has. That percentage rather “thinks about how to enter drugs or generate fights inside the penitentiaries”.
There would even be inmates who enter workshops exclusively to enter illegal objects among the materials they need to practice. The official explained that generally criminal gangs are organized or created outside. By stopping them, they regroup inside. However, they seek to reduce – through the Penitentiary Intelligence Unit the conflicts that take place between the criminal groups. (I)