Alias ‘Nico’, one of the most wanted men in Colombia, is captured in an airport in Guayaquil while Holy Week celebrations take place across Ecuador.
After several months of police investigations, the Colombian national John Jairo Vasco López, (alias ‘Nico’) was captured by Ecuadorian police agents on Wednesday 20 April at the José Joaquín de Olmedo airport in Guayaquil as he was returning from Argentina. Vasco López is wanted by Interpol for a series of murders in Colombia. Presenting false documents of identification was the first reason for arrest.
Ecuadorian Police states that alias ‘Nico’ is regarded in Colombia as the leader of the armed wing of the criminal gang named ‘Cordillera’ which allegedly has 90% control over micro-trafficking of drugs and contract killings in major cities in Colombia. This criminal band has been linked to neo-paramilitary groups operating in the area of Pereira, northwest of Colombia, where a very strong contention for control of drug smuggling routes is ongoing.
The police report also identifies the Cordillera group as a paramilitary international organization, with a network of contributors in Quito. Some of the criminal group’s activities include keeping control over certain sectors of the city for the sale of drugs through recruitment and intimidation of people engaged in illicit drug distribution.
The head of this criminal organization was José Fabián Patiño Guzman, alias ‘Niño Fabian’ who was arrested last March in Colombia. Alias ‘Nico’, was considered the successor of Patiño Guzmán in this mafia. He was deported to Colombia in the early hours of Friday April 22. However, Ecuadorian authorities have announced that investigations to uncover more information regarding Vasco’s activities in Ecuador will be maintained.
In other news, the religious fervour of thousands of people is celebrated this weekend with occasion of the Holy Week. Thousands of faithful Catholics have taken part in the various processions taking place in the major cities of Ecuador.
In Quito, more than 50 000 people accompanied the image of ‘Jesus del Gran Poder’ along the route of the procession, which departed from the area of San Francisco to the ‘Basilica del Voto Nacional’. Subsequently, a mass was celebrated by Archbishop Fausto Trabes.
Meanwhile the ‘Kasama’, the indigenous New Year, is celebrated in Santo Domingo. The traditional celebration of the Tsáchila ethnicity, gathers over seven communities of rural Santo Domingo.
Gumercindo Aguavil, leader of this ethnic group, greets hundreds of people who have come from various provinces of the country to be part of the ceremony of ritual cleansing and purification. ‘Mestizos’ and tourists must pay USD 5 to undergo spiritual cleansing. The funds will finance the costs of the next Kasama, the following year.
This ritual is the main event of ‘Kasama’, which this year took place in the Congoman community, located 25 km from Santo Domingo. It is complemented with other cultural events such as dances, parades and a food market during the day.