Skip to content

“Come, kill me”: who is Diana Salazar, the irreconcilable prosecutor of Ecuador, fighting against “drug policy”

‘The country must prepare’: Attorney General Diana Salazar anticipated what last week turned out to be one of the worst attacks in Ecuador carried out by gangs linked to the country’s drug trafficking. The 42-year-old is at the forefront of the massive Operation Metastasis, which in December resulted in the arrest of nearly thirty people, including judges and prosecutors, on suspicion of involvement in organized drug crime.

The case is a “clear x-ray of how drug trafficking has taken over government institutions,” she said at the time, calling it “the largest (operation) in history to combat corruption and drug trafficking” in the country. “The response to this operation will certainly be an escalation of violence,” she predicted, revealing that the investigation has been described as the cornerstone of Ecuador’s “drug policy.”

A total of 31 people, including judges and prosecutors, as well as prison officials and police officers, were arrested in 75 simultaneous raids as part of an investigation launched after the prison killing of drug trafficker Leandro Norero in 2022. Among those arrested was Wilman Teran, president of the Judicial Council, an organization that handles cases related to drug trafficking and criminal violence. He was also a judge of the National Court. And also former police general Pablo Ramirez, who worked in the prison administration and headed the drug department.

“Come and kill me”

Diana Salazar untangled this tangle with an iron fist, reviewing thousands of messages and phone records from Norero’s phone. Since then, during her rare public appearances and when she has received death threats, she wears a bulletproof vest and is protected by strong security. “Come and kill me,” she defiantly declared recently during a hearing during which she called for the detention of eight new suspects.

Diana Salazar’s prediction came true when, in one week, drug traffickers overwhelmed the Ecuadorian state with dozens of prison hostage-takings, bomb attacks and armed attacks on the press. A prosecutor investigating a January 9 attack on the set of a television station in Guayaquil was killed Wednesday.

“Ecuadorian Loretta Lynch”

This wave of violence, which left at least twenty people dead, followed a strong response by President Daniel Noboa following the January 7 escape of a dangerous gang leader who was to be informed of a plan to transfer him to another prison. However, for Gustavo Medina, a former prosecutor, the chaos wreaked by the gangs is a consequence of Operation Metastasis. “We can’t explain it any other way,” he told AFP.

In 2020, a year after Diana Salazar became the country’s first black attorney general, she sued popular former President Rafael Correa (2007-2017) for corruption. His detractors accuse him of pursuing him at the expense of other, more important investigations, while his defenders praise his courage and determination. She handled many other landmark corruption cases, including the so-called “FIFA Gate,” which resulted in former Ecuadorian Football Federation President Luis Chiriboga being sentenced to 10 years in prison for money laundering.

Nicknamed “Ecuador’s Loretta Lynch,” named after the former U.S. attorney general, a fan of major anti-corruption coups and the country’s first black woman to head the Justice Department, she qualified in 2021 for the U.S. State Department. as a “champion in the fight against corruption.” Diana Salazar was born in June 1981 in Ibarra, in the northern Andes region. He has a doctorate in jurisprudence and several diplomas in the field of human rights and protection of people of African descent.

Source: Le Parisien

Share this article:
globalhappenings news.jpg
most popular