On April 2, the Ecuadorian National Police seized two drug shipments bound for Spain and India from one of Guayaquil’s seaports. In both cases, the alert of a sniffing dog belonging to Ecuador’s Regional Canine Training Center was key for the drug seizures.
The first contaminated container had shrimp bound for Spain. Upon the alert of sniffing dog Basil, agents from the Police Ports and Airports Investigation Unit proceeded to a thorough search of the interior and found 1,245 rectangular-shaped packages in 19 bundles that tested positive for cocaine hydrochloride, Ecuadorian daily El Universo reported.
In the second container with scrap material, bound for India, authorities found 1,244 packages in 16 bundles also containing cocaine hydrochloride. The same dog alerted police agents to check the cargo. “Through a pre-shipment verification and with the help of canine Basil, we seized 1,240 kilograms of cocaine, which were inside a container with metal,” the Police said via Twitter.
The drug seized in both operations totaled 2.5 tons, which authorities estimated to be valued at $93 million in the international market.
So far this year and up to April 3, the National Police has seized 58.5 tons of drugs — 41 percent of it in Zone 8 (Guayaquil, Duran, and Samborondón). Fernando Estévez, head of the Canine Police Headquarters’ Zone 8, said that this is the fourth alert from Basil the sniffing dog for drug seizures in ports this year.
Thanks to its 250 million olfactory cells and a larger area of the brain dedicated to interpreting the information of these cells, a dog’s sense of smell is thousands of times more acute than that of humans. “The objective of the mafias is to hide drugs as well as possible and the objective of our dogs is to smell them a few meters away,” Erik Benítez, deputy director of investigations of the Antinarcotics Police said in 2020, as he stressed how “fundamental” the work of these dogs is in the fight against organized narcotrafficking, El Comercio reported.
According to the Ministry of Government’s official website, authorities rely on sniffing dogs throughout the country, particularly at ports and airports, in the fight against crimes.