Ecuador arrests 6 Colombians in slaying of presidential candidate

Ecuador’s transformation into a major drug trafficking hub and the ensuing three-year surge of violence is weighing on the nation following the killing of a presidential candidate whose life’s work was to fight crime and corruption.

Six Colombian men were arrested Thursday in connection with the fatal shooting of Fernando Villavicencio a day earlier in the capital, Quito. He was not a front-runner in the race, but his assassination in broad daylight less than two weeks before the special presidential election underscored the challenge Ecuador’s next leader will face in any attempt to curb gangs and cartels whose activities have claimed thousands of lives.

A report of the men’s arrest reviewed by The Associated Press showed the men were captured hiding in a house in Quito. Law enforcement officers, according to the report, seized four shotguns, a 5.56-mm rifle, ammunition and three grenades as well as a vehicle and one motorcycle.

Read more: NPR