The wife and children of Ecuador’s most-wanted fugitive, drug kingpin Jose Adolfo Macias, were arrested in Argentina and have been deported to Ecuador.

The Los Choneros gang leader, known as “Fito”, escaped from a prison in the port city of Guayaquil this month, leading to a surge in gang violence across Ecuador that prompted President Daniel Noboa to declare a 60-day state of emergency in the country, which is home to 17.8 million people.

Argentina’s security minister Patricia Bullrich said: “We are proud that Argentina was a hostile territory for a group of drug dealers who could’ve come to settle here. Mr Fito had a sentence of 38 years and he escaped, leaving a trail of blood and death in Ecuador.”