Ecuadorean National Police fight organize crime kidnappings
By Dialogo April 11, 2014
Police from Ecuador and Mexico recently cooperated in a training seminar which focused on how to investigate cases involving missing persons, such as kidnapping victims.
The training seminar was organized by the National Direction of Crimes against Life, Violent Deaths, Disappearances, Extortions and Kidnappings (DINASED), which is part of the Ecuadorean National Police.
The training took place March 10-14 in Quito. Thirty one members of DINASED took part in the training, which was conducted by members of Mexico’s Federal Police (PF).
PF agents provided training on the best methods for investigating missing persons cases and abductions. The PF has much experience investigating thousands of cases of abductions in recent years by Los Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel, and other transnational criminal organizations, some of which also operate in Central and South America.
Battling organized crime kidnappings
The training will help Ecuadorean police fight kidnappings, particularly those which are committed by organized crime groups, said Col. Carlos Alulema, director of Dinased. The training is part of an ongoing effort to professionalize the Ecuadorean National Police, the colonel said.
“It is essential to have the training and specialization from other countries,” said Colonel Carlos Alulema, Director of the National Direction of Crimes against Life, Missing Persons, Disappearances, Extortions and Kidnappings, which Extortions and Kidnappings (DINASED). “This will allow the establishment of new ways to combat one of the crimes that generate the greatest loss of human lives, that is, the disappearance of people.”
PF agents have high levels of experience investigating kidnappings, said Emilio García Ruíz, Director General of the FP’s Federal Crimes Investigation unit, which provided the training.
“In Mexico we have developed significant expertise, due to the number of cases we have,” García Ruíz said. “The fight against the drug cartels in Mexico has left us with a very large number of missing persons. My team is taking care of around 400 historic cases.”
Ecuador’s National Police established DINASED in November 2013. Since its inception, DINASED officials have been cooperating with security forces from other countries, primarily by sharing information. Such cooperation is important in the fight against organized crime, García Ruíz said.
“As an institution, we are collaborating in terms of training with all the governments of America and also Europe, to build capacity with the police at a global level,” García Ruíz said. “And we couldn’t forget the people of Ecuador, the brothers and sisters of the Republic of Ecuador has the same will than those of Mexico.”
The Ecuadorean National Police established DINASED in response to heightened concerns about organized crime activity.
“It is an organism created in this administration to address a complex problem related to the violence in our country, in terms of homicides, kidnappings, missing persons and extortion,” Col. Alulema said. “These are some of the most complicated crimes in terms of the investigation and require prioritized attention from the state and the institutions.”
During the first 11 months of 2013, before authorities established DINASED, Ecuadorean National Police solved 1,032 kidnapping and missing persons cases. Another 1,245 cases remained under investigation.
The number of missing persons cases is on the rise, Col. Alulema said. In January and 2014, police received 646 reports of missing cases, three times the 200 cases, which were reported during the same two months in 2013, the colonel said.
Ecuadorean security forces are responding to the need to reduce kidnappings, Col. Alulema said.
Police are doing all they can to investigate abduction cases with the “urgency, seriousness and expertise required,” the colonel said.
The importance of training
Before the training that was provided by the FP, DINASED had trained 145 Ecuadorean police officers from around the country, Col. Alulema said. These officers were trained in the basics of investigating missing persons cases.
Training police investigators is important in the battle against organized crime groups, García Ruíz said.
“The criminals, at the end of the day, are ever more organized and we, as law enforcement, cannot be behind, we need to be professionalized. We need to be constantly sharing experiences and achieve a police force that would face the phenomenon of crime in a global fashion,” said Director García Ruíz.
Coordination and cooperation between different law enforcement agencies has helped Mexican authorities in their fight against organized crime, García Ruíz said.
“Basically, it is the coordination that has led to a reduction in the crime rates. We come to Ecuador, specifically to share our experience in missing persons. What’s the treatment we afford to the topic, how do we address it, how do we generate the protocols of action so that everyone has a clear route to follow in an investigation and nothing is left to chance,” García Ruíz said.
It is essential to have a clear sense of the expectations that can be set and the results that can be provided. “And it is the same in Mexico than in Ecuador, logically, the environment changes, the problem itself has multiple variables and that is what we are going to study and try to adapt the models,” García Ruíz said. .
Ecuador cooperates with other countries in the region
Ecuadorean security forces are also cooperating with their Nicaraguan counterparts, sharing information, tactics, and training methods to fight organized crime.
In March 2014, Aminta Elena Granera Sacasa, Nicaragua’s Director General of the National Police, went to Quito to meet with Ecuadorean security officials, including Interior Minister José Serrano, to sign the security cooperation agreement.
The agreement between Nicaraguan and Ecuadorean authorities encompasses the exchange of information and programs related to public safety, as well as training methods for security personnel. The security forces of the two countries plan on sending their respective forensic analysts and computer technicians to regional conferences to improve their skills
“When the authorities of countries begin to share professional experiences, the chances of success are greater if the challenges they face are similar,” said Héctor Chávez Villao, a security analyst at the University of Guayaquil.
Ecuador also is cooperating with Peru and Colombia on security issues.
In November 2013, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa signed separate agreements with the presidents of Peru and Colombia to strengthen their cooperation in the battle against organized crime along the borders the countries share.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met with Correa in the Colombian city of Ipiales on Nov. 25, 2013.
Correa, Santos, the foreign ministers of both countries and several Ecuadorean and Colombian Cabinet ministers met for about four hours to discuss progress on agreements that were reached during the First Binational Cabinet meeting between the two countries. That meeting was held in December 2012 in the Ecuadorean city of Tulcán. One of the topics was Colombia’s ongoing peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Following the Nov. 25, 2014,meeting, Correa and Santos signed eight agreements regarding issues such as security, transportation, education, tourism, and the oil industry.
Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa met Nov. 14, 2013, in the city of Piura, Peru, near the Ecuadorean border. The meeting between of the two presidents concluded the VII Binational Ministerial Cabinet Meeting.
The two presidents agreed to have their respective security forces strengthen their cooperation in the battle against human trafficking and the illegal sales of stolen fuel.