USB bomb injures TV presenter in Ecuador

police alerted

The bomb exploded when the TV presenter inserted the USB stick

Police in Ecuador are investigating attacks on several media organizations in the country. This after a journalist was injured by an exploding USB stick.

updatedMarch 23, 2023 at 2:21 p.m

After attacks on several TV stations in Ecuador, the police searched the Ecuavisa newsroom.


A bomb disguised as a USB stick exploded there, injuring moderator Lenin Artieda.

Twitter/Paul Tutiven Fuentes

At least four other news organizations in the country received such USB bombs.


According to the police, a military explosive was installed in the USB sticks.


It is unclear who sent the USB bombs. The police are investigating on suspicion of terrorism.


  • USB bombs have been received by several news organizations in Ecuador.

  • A TV presenter inserted one of the memory sticks and it exploded.

  • He suffered injuries to his face and hands, according to police.

  • The authorities are now investigating suspected terrorism.

Shortly before 8:30 a.m. Lenin Artieda opened a yellow envelope in the office of the Ecuadorian TV station Ecuavisa. Inside was a nondescript USB stick and a note. The presenter, returning from paternity leave that day, plugged the memory stick into a PC: an explosion immediately occurred. It was a USB bomb. Ecuador sits between Colombia and Peru, the two largest cocaine producers in the world.

According to the police, the TV presenter suffered minor injuries to his face and hands in the detonation in the station’s newsroom in Guayaquil. Later, his employer reported that the moderator was in good health. Nobody else was hurt. According to the newspaper “El Universo”, the journalist was taken to safety after the attack.

USB bomb: how it was built

The attack on Artieda was not an isolated incident. According to the police, such USB bombs have also been received in at least four other newsrooms in the country. According to Interior Minister Juan Zapata, one of them was intercepted by a courier service. According to Xavier Chango, head of the police forensic institute, the USB sticks contained a 5-volt explosive charge. The military explosive RDX is said to have been used. This is currently being investigated in the laboratory. All the seized shipments contained the same explosive devices.

This is what the USB bomb looked like.


According to Chango, the explosive device was designed to detonate as soon as it was plugged into a USB port, since it carries electricity. Since only half of Artieda’s explosive device detonated, it was probably saved from major damage, Chango explained.

Here lies Guayaquil

In recent years, Ecuador itself has become a hub in the global drug trade. Guayaquil is one of the most dangerous cities in Ecuador. There are regular violent clashes between rival gangs over smuggling routes. Violence against journalists has already occurred in Ecuador in the recent past: last year, the broadcaster RTS TV was the target of a gun attack. In 2020, a bomb exploded near Teleamazonas. AFP

suspected terrorism

The public prosecutor’s office did not provide any information as to who could be behind the mailings and how the media houses were selected. As the public prosecutor announced, however, investigations are being carried out on suspicion of terrorism.

Here lies the USB bomb that exploded, injuring a TV presenter.

According to the Fundamedios organization, which campaigns for press rights, the program contained a note that the USB memory contained information about Correismo, a political movement named after ex-President Rafael Correa. According to Fundamedios, the mailings represent “a new escalation of violence against the press” and the government must “intervene immediately”.

With material from AFP.

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