ACCESSION NUMBER:233039 FILE ID:AR-521 DATE:06/26/92 TITLE:(Spanish coming) (06/26/92) TEXT:*92062621.ARF *ARF521 06/26/92* (Spanish coming) ECUADOR BUSTS CARTEL, NABS ALLEGED TOP DRUG DEALER (Arrest of Reyes Torres 6/18) nrb (620) By Norma Romano-Benner USIA Staff Writer WASHINGTON -- Jorge Hugo Reyes Torres -- allegedly Ecuador's leading narcotrafficker -- and 69 of his associates are now behind bars as a result of Operation Cyclone, the largest police operation ever conducted in the Andean nation. The 70 were being held "in preventive prison" in different jails in Quito pending further investigation, according to a spokesman for the National 1olice interviewed by telephone June 26. The spokesman said Reyes Torres, believed to have masterminded the creation of a cocaine trafficking organization in Ecuador, was arrested in his home in Quito June 19 on charges that he had violently abused and raped one of the women on his domestic staff. Reyes Torres allegedly served as an important link for Colombia's Cali cartel and was valued by them for his skills in packaging cocaine at his El Timbre Hacienda in Quininde. The police spokesman said Operation Cyclone was the result of three years of investigation into the Reyes Torres organization. This solidified their suspicions, the spokesman said; however, "hard evidence was hard to come by because this man was really slippery." Police finally moved in after the husband of the woman on Reyes Torres' domestic staff pressed charges. The woman's husband, police said, accused Reyes Torres of violently raping his wife. Five hundred members of the police surrounded Reyes Torres' home in Quito and captured him and about 40 members of his organization. Inside Reyes Torres' home, the spokesman said, police discovered a cache of "the most sophisticated weapons and radio equipment -- comparable only to communications equipment used by Ecuador's security personnel." Reyes Torres was also charged with possession of illegal weapons and illegally operating radio equipment. "The weapons were very sophisticated and modern, and only the armed forces of Ecuador can operate something like that," the spokesman said. Reyes Torres was using radio frequencies "only used by the military, the air force, the navy, and the security forces of Ecuador." Also arrested were Mauricio Javier Hernandez, a Quito lawyer; the alleged chief financier for the Reyes Torres organization, Mirella Santacruz Delgado; and Victor Rodrigo Berru, president of Executive Air Transport (TAE), whose air fleet allegedly transported cocaine shipments from Colombia to Mexico and the United States. In the subsequent three days police arrested an additional 30 people, charging them with working for the Reyes cartel. Among them were two men, a police spokesman said, found burning about 100 kilograms of cocaine in Zambiza, a town near Quito. Police said the two confessed they worked for Reyes Torres. After police gained access to Reyes Torres' home, the police "found large amounts of the most sophisticated kinds of weapons," the spokesman said. He could not specify the origins of the cache. Police said they confiscated the arms as well as boxes of documents and computerized information, which are now being analyzed. The spokesman said police have also seized homes belonging to the Reyes Torres family in Quito, Santo Domingo de los Colorados, Loja, and Guayaquil. The estimated value of the real estate property, he said is "well over $1,000 million." Police also seized 30 vehicles and froze bank accounts in 40 different Ecuadorean banking institutions. The spokesman said Ecuadorean authorities are also working to seize overseas bank accounts belonging to the cartel and members of the Reyes Torres family. With the arrests, the spokesman said, "We concluded the biggest operation in the history of our institution after three years of intelligence police work at the national and international levels." NNNN 1 .