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Ecuador Deals Blow to Narcotrafficking with Colombian, US Support

Ecuador Deals Blow to Narcotrafficking with Colombian, US Support

By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo
August 11, 2020

The Ecuadorean Navy (AE, in Spanish) and the National Police (PNE, in Spanish) work relentlessly to counter narcotrafficking and related crimes. This is reflected in the seizures of nearly 3 metric tons of cocaine June 23-27, with the cooperation of Colombia and the United States.

“It is true that the existing technology deployed by the United States, together with our neighboring sister nation Colombia, has facilitated a technological network [to] identify groups that are prone to commit illicit activities,” Ecuadorean Navy Rear Admiral Lenin Sánchez, director of the Department of Marine Areas, told Diálogo. “The movement of our units is now done with full knowledge of where they have to go when deployed, because they will find positive results […].”

The Ecuadorean Navy, together with the Colombian Navy and the U.S. military, intercepted a vessel that carried 1 metric ton of cocaine in Esmeraldas province, on June 23, 2020. (Photo: Ecuadorean Ministry of Defense)

Thanks to cooperation between the police forces of Ecuador and Colombia, authorities captured three individuals and found 1 metric ton of cocaine in Guayllabamba, on June 27, the PNE said via Twitter. The drug was intended to be shipped by sea to Central America, and later to the United States.

According to the report Ecuador: A Cocaine Superhighway to the U.S. and Europe, by InSight Crime, a non-profit journalistic and investigative organization that specializes in organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean, more than a third of the Colombian cocaine produced enters Ecuador via two routes: the Pacific and the Amazon. There “is a complex, fluid underworld” of routes operated by a mixture of Ecuadorean, Colombian, Mexican, and European criminal networks that make deals based on the amount of drugs taken to points of dispatch or delivery, the report says.

The Ecuadorean Ministry of the Interior reported that the ENP found a clandestine airstrip in Jama on June 24, where authorities seized more than 273 kilograms of cocaine and detained three individuals. Also on June 24, the Ecuadorean newspaper El Universo reported that authorities had destroyed two other illegal airstrips in Santa Elena, on the Pacific Coast, west of Guayaquil. El Universo added that the Anti-narcotics Police also found a stranded speedboat with 706 kg of cocaine nearby in Salinas.

On June 23, through information exchange with the Colombian and U.S. navies, the AE reported via Twitter that authorities had captured three people in another operation in Miusne, Esmeraldas province. The detainees carried 1 metric ton of cocaine bound for Central America and the United States, El Universo reported.