Ecuador judge rules suspect is person of interest over storming of TV station

By Thomson Reuters Feb 21, 2024 | 4:20 PM

QUITO (Reuters) – A judge in Ecuador on Wednesday authorized the inclusion of an alleged gang leader as a person of interest in the investigation into the violent storming of a television station last month, the attorney general’s office said.

Heavily armed gunmen took over a studio at public broadcaster TC during a live broadcast in January, part of a wave of violence that pushed President Daniel Noboa to declare 22 criminal groups terrorists and military targets.”A judge of the judicial unit for crimes related to corruption … issues a new preventive detention order against Willian Joffre A. B., this time for the crime of terrorism,” the attorney general’s office said in a message on X.

Ecuadorean authorities do not include surnames when naming suspects in active criminal cases.

The man is the leader of a criminal group, according to the attorney general’s office and is already being held on other charges.

He was named a person of interest in the TC case in addition to 13 other people – including two minors – whom police detained when they retook control of the TV station.

Ecuadorean media report the man is the leader of a gang called Los Tiguerones, which is one of the 22 gangs Noboa designated as terrorists.

According to local media, the gang is responsible for drug trafficking and extortion in Ecuador’s coastal provinces of Guayas and Esmeraldas.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Sandra Maler)