Ecuadorean Security Forces Seize Almost 6.5 Tons of Drugs
By Guillermo Saavedra/Diálogo November 02, 2020
Nearly 6.5 tons of drugs, including cocaine and marijuana, were seized in less than a week in Ecuador, in 11 operations carried out between September 5-9 the National Police reported in a statement.
On September 9, the National Police seized 3.8 tons of marijuana hidden in a truck that was attempting to enter from Colombia through a border crossing in northern Ecuador, with Peru as its final destination, the institution reported. The marijuana found was distributed in more than 3,000 packages, hidden in false -bottoms found all over the vehicle.
In one of the most important blows, during an operation coordinated by the Ecuadorean and Colombian navies, service members seized 1.3 tons of cocaine in a vessel that was sailing near the coastal city of Santa Elena on September 8, the Ecuadorean Navy said in a press release. The vessel “was attempting to transport the drug to Central America,” Ecuadorean Interior Minister María Paula Romo said on her Twitter account.
During the operation, units of the Ecuadorean Navy had to destroy the boat’s false-bottom to remove the cocaine hidden among food supplies and bottled water, the Ecuadorean newspaper El Universo reported. The captain of Salinas Port, Magno Bermeo, told the newspaper that the crew was going to jettison the cocaine in the ocean for it to be collected by another vessel.
In another seizure on September 5, the Special Mobile Anti-Narcotics Group and the National Police Canine Unit carried out a joint operation in Imbabura province, where they captured a narcotrafficker who was transporting 298 kilograms of cocaine in a truck that was carrying bags of legumes.
During these operations, authorities detained 12 citizens of different nationalities, the National Police reported.
According to InSight Crime, an organization that focuses on security threats in Latin America, more than a third of the cocaine produced in Colombia reaches Ecuador. “The drug leaves the country’s ports, coasts, and airports, and from there is sent worldwide, to the United States, Europe, and even Asia and Oceania,” the organization said.
Ecuador’s geographic location and other characteristics “provide incentives for transnational organized crime, which takes advantage of the country as a drug transshipment point, a safe haven for logistics, for narcotraffickers to rest and reorganize,” InSight Crime added.