TITLE:(Spanish coming) (06/26/92)
*ARF521 06/26/92*

(Spanish coming)
(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."