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Ecuador captures leader from Los Lobos gang

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuadorean authorities on Saturday said they had captured a leader of a powerful gang, Los Lobos, which has been accused of involvement in the assassination of the country's anti-corruption presidential candidate last August.

Ecuador has been struggling to bring violence under control amid a 90-day state of emergency declared to tackle 22 gangs, including Los Lobos, which are considered terrorist groups.

During the capture of a man known under the alias of Vicente, authorities said two alleged criminals were injured. Soldiers also made 12 arrests and confiscated $200,000 as well as different types of arms and ammunition, and explosives.

Last month, the attorney general's office said five suspects accused of involvement in the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, who was gunned down in Quito ahead of the election, would go on trial.

Two leaders of Los Lobos who have been accused of planning the assassination of Villavicencio have already been jailed.

Villavicencio, a former legislator and crusading journalist, was shot while leaving a campaign event, becoming the most prominent victim of the country's spiking violence.

Ecuadorean authorities do not typically publish the full names of people under prosecution. Los Lobos has thousands of members, according to some reports, and runs operations also inside Ecuador's violent prison system.

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)