Ecuador Combats Narcotrafficking with US Support
By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo October 14, 2020
The U.S. government assigned $7 million to Ecuador on September 3, 2020 to improve the infrastructure of the justice and security department, to strengthen the fight against narcotrafficking and transnational organized crime. The Ecuadorean National Police has been keeping up the fight against narcotrafficking, and has seized more than 9.6 tons of drugs from August 30 through September 9.
“International cooperation comes as a strategic support option for national objectives in the fight against these global scourges,” Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Luis Gallegos said, after highlighting that relations between both countries are in their best phase.
The funds will help activate technical assistance programs, training, equipment donations, and infrastructure refurbishments for institutions in the justice and security system, in addition to the nearly $10.5 million that the U.S. Congress approved in 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador said.
U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Michael J. Fitzpatrick added that the United States will continue providing assistance to “implement good practices that equip police, prosecutors, judges, and Coast Guard Command personnel, so they have the tools for combating criminal networks and international mafias effectively.”
The work of the Ecuadorean National Police continues to yield results. In an operation carried out in a hotel in Esmeraldas province on September 11, police officers seized 1,028 kilograms of cocaine hidden in boxes of shrimp that were bound for international markets. Authorities detained three people in this operation.
In another operation, police units carried out 11 interventions from September 5 to 9 in different provinces of the country, seizing 6.4 tons of marijuana and cocaine. Authorities arrested 12 citizens of different nationalities, the police said.
On August 30, security forces dealt another blow to narcotrafficking in the port of Guayaquil. The operation resulted in the seizure of 2.2 tons of cocaine hidden inside two containers on a ship that was four hours away from sailing to Belgium, the Ecuadorean magazine Vistazo reported.
From January to August 2020, the police seized 61 tons of drugs and destroyed 17 clandestine airstrips nationwide, which is equivalent to an average seizure of about 1.5 tons of drugs per week, the Ecuadorean newspaper El Universo said.