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How Ecuador’s drug gangs turned a Guayaquil prison into a battleground

How Ecuador’s drug gangs turned a Guayaquil prison into a battleground


It was the deadliest prison riot in Ecuador’s history. On a single day in September 2021, at least 120 people were killed in clashes between rival gangs at the Guayaquil penitentiary. The bloodletting was an early sign of the growing power of the country’s gangs and a warning about the kind of extreme violence they could unleash. One inmate, Phoenix, saw the prison battle unfold. Phoenix asked to be identified only by his nickname because of safety concerns.



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