Correa Affirms that There Are Drug-Trafficking Cartels Operating in Ecuador
By Dialogo March 28, 2011
On 24 March, following the arrest of nine suspected liaisons for the powerful Mexican Sinaloa cartel, President Rafael Correa affirmed that drug-trafficking organizations are operating in Ecuador.
“It’s beyond doubt that drug cartels are functioning in the country (…) What is not the case is that we’re in a situation like the one in Mexico, because (there) they dominate entire territories,” Correa said in a radio interview.
On 23 March, the Ecuadorean police announced the arrest of four Ecuadoreans, three Mexicans, and two Colombians in an operation with the Mexican police, who detained another nine people allegedly linked to the Sinaloa cartel, led by the mob boss Joaquín ‘Chapo’ Guzmán.
The gang is believed to be linked to around four tons of cocaine seized in Ecuador in recent months, according to the police.
“I have to get more information about the operation, but in principle, it corroborates it,” Correa indicated with regard to the Sinaloa cartel’s presence in the country.
He added that “it seems that this information is correct; the police are acting, and they’ve had a significant success with this operation.”
“Ecuador still continues to be an island of peace in the whole of Latin America,” although “we can’t ignore the reality, however much it pains us at heart, that (…) our two neighbors (Colombia and Peru) are the two largest producers of drugs in Latin America and the largest in the world,” he declared.
“Expecting Ecuador to be untouched by this problem of drugs and organized crime is demagoguery,” Correa said, emphasizing that “we’re combatting them here and being successful.”
In addition, he declared that his administration has ordered the Armed Forces to act jointly with the police, because “there’s no country in the world that has succeeded in defeating organized crime without collaboration.”
The police have not ruled out the involvement of the Sinaloa cartel in the death of an anti-drug agent on the outskirts of Quito on 19 March.