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Woman Escapes House Arrest in Cuenca While Under Police Surveillance

Published on February 19, 2024

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Despite the presence of four police officers guarding her, the career criminal managed to evade her home detention.

Katherine Maritza PB, known to authorities as the leader of a criminal syndicate, has successfully evaded her house arrest in Cuenca last weekend. This development has not only sparked concern but also raised questions regarding the efficacy of law enforcement measures.

The incident occurred despite the presence of four police officers tasked with monitoring the detainee. These officers, now under investigation themselves, failed to prevent Maritza’s escape, according to statements from the Police.

Maritza’s legal saga began in October 2022 when she was apprehended during the Libertad police operation conducted in Cuenca and Santa Rosa (El Oro). Accused of orchestrating organized crime, particularly in high-scale drug trafficking and human exploitation, Maritza faced charges brought forth by the Prosecutor’s Office.

During her initial court appearance, Maritza was granted house arrest due to her pregnancy. However, this leniency did not deter her from absconding. The judge, in addition to imposing house arrest, had ordered round-the-clock police surveillance and the freezing of her minor children’s bank accounts.

Despite these precautions, Maritza managed to flee her residence, prompting the detention of the four monitoring officers for further inquiry, as confirmed by the Police.

Meanwhile, the remaining ten individuals arrested alongside Maritza—nine adults and one adolescent—have been remanded into preventive custody. Notably, the juvenile suspect has been placed under preventive hospitalization. Furthermore, the Prosecutor’s Office indicated that five additional individuals held in Turi prison were linked to the case, broadening the scope of the investigation.

Three month investigation near El Arenal

The arrests followed an extensive three-month police investigation, which identified Maritza as the ringleader of an operation involved in drug transportation, storage, distribution, and sales, primarily centered around the El Arenal market in Cuenca.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the criminal organization recruited vulnerable individuals, including children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities, to peddle narcotics. Coercion tactics, such as physical violence and threats against families, were employed to enforce compliance.

Minors within the organization were tasked with concealing drugs within sales areas and transporting substances to evade law enforcement detection effectively. These findings were based on a combination of investigative reports, surveillance footage, intercepted communications, witness testimonies, and victim accounts.

Subsequent raids conducted in Cuenca and Santa Rosa yielded substantial evidence, including three kilograms of cocaine, over $10,500 in cash, drug paraphernalia, mobile phones, financial records, and clothing belonging to the suspects.

Career criminal

Maritza’s criminal record further complicates the situation, with multiple prior charges against her for intimidation and organized crime, dating back to 2022. Past arrests and subsequent legal proceedings illustrate a pattern of involvement in drug-related offenses.

Despite previous encounters with law enforcement, Maritza has managed to evade significant consequences. Instances such as her 2016 arrest, subsequent release due to lack of evidence, and subsequent re-arrest in 2019 underscore the challenges authorities face in prosecuting individuals involved in organized crime.

The failure to prevent Maritza’s escape highlights systemic shortcomings in monitoring and addressing organized criminal activity. As authorities intensify efforts to apprehend her and dismantle her syndicate, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing battle against organized crime in the region.


  1. Corruption is so prevelent in the Cuenca police and National Police forces and criminal justice system.

  2. Wow! She’s been pregnant since 2022!


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