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In Ecuador there was a special cell for dangerous criminals

The expenal closed in 2014, is located in the San Roque neighborhood, in the historic center of the city.

Veronica Morao
4 min read
In Ecuador there was a special cell for dangerous criminals – Curiosities
Gabriel Garcia Moreno Prison

An old prison in Ecuador was named after Gabriel García Moreno, after the former president. Moreno gave the order for the construction of the prison and the Dane Thomas Reed was in charge of the design.

In 1869, the prison construction contract was approved for an amount of 222,149 pesos as a budget and should be ready in 5 years. On August 20, 1874 the work was delivered.

The inauguration of this project took place in 1875. The project was carried out for 200 people, but it came to house 1,600 prisoners.

The cells had a dimension of 7.6 meters and were capable of holding two people. However, due to high demand in one cell there were 18 prisoners.

García Moreno chose to make this prison, since he wanted all the prisoners concentrated in a single prison. Historians say that one of the requirements was that the cells be painted black, so that the detainees would not receive any light.

In the former García Moreno prison, different renowned politicians and heinous criminals spent their days. The objective of this old prison with a panoptic structure was that its guardian, from a central tower, could observe the prisoners without their knowledge.

After 139 years of operation, in April 2014, the prison closed and the detainees were relocated. After a time, this space was made available to the public as a museum.

Since then, those who monitor the place assure that blows, screams are heard in the facilities and they have even had visits from mysterious people.

The facility was divided into 5 pavilions, depending on the dangerousness of the criminals

Pavilion A

The first area had the presence of drug trafficking leaders, politicians and bankers. In addition to the 28 cells, they had certain benefits, a gym and a library.

In this space was the famous drug trafficker Óscar Caranqui, who became famous by offering a party in honor of the Child Jesus. For this celebration he was in charge of hiring Ecuadorian artists, he offered drugs, alcohol and in his cell he had the presence of sex workers.

Pavilion B

In this space of 114 cells, the worst murderers, rapists or perpetrators of serious crimes were held. Each cell had 15 or 20 people.

In this pavilion was Pedro Alonso López, known as the "Monster of the Andes", who confessed to having tortured and killed more than 300 young men and women between Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.

Another of the members was Daniel Camargo Barbosa, who had 16 years in prison, since he was the author of murders and more than 70 rapes in Ecuador. Camargo was murdered by Giovanny Arcesio Noguera Jaramillo, his cellmate.

Another of the members of the pavilion was a swindler from the country known as the 'Muisne storyteller', who posed as the son of the president of Costa Rica and also sold the Guayaquil Clock Tower. On three occasions the man escaped from prison and one of those times he did so dressed as a nun.

Pavilion C, D and E

In this area were drug addicts, people with minor crimes, some with incomplete primary or higher education.

Peculiarities of the prison

In Pavilion B was the particular 'Lucifer's cell' named for its specific scent and strange squeaks. The people who attended the prison while it was working, assured that in this place they performed satanic rituals and invoked the Prince of Darkness.

They also commented that when visiting the place they felt strange and many times they vomited for no reason. In addition, there was a particular feeling that time stopped, being in this cell.

This expenal has become an attraction for researchers. They also agree with the information offered by the keepers, since, while they were walking, inexplicable shadows crossed in front of them.

People report that in certain cells the doors don't open when they try to open, even though they don't have locks. However, surprisingly these doors appear open without explanation. Even doors slamming and screaming can be heard.