The Ecuadorian National Police dealt a blow to organized crime with the seizure of more than 8 tons of cocaine on January 17, 2022, as part of Operation Great Impact 1 (Operación Gran Impacto 1), in Guayas province. Agents of the National Anti-narcotics Intelligence Unit with European Coordination executed the operation.
Thanks to police intelligence, authorities targeted two properties located in the Isidro Ayora and Salitre cantons, Guayas province, which narcotraffickers allegedly used as storage centers, the Ecuadorian newspaper El Comercio reported. Due to their strategic location, these properties “provided facilities for the contamination of containers with controlled substances, bound for markets in Europe,” Police said in a statement.
Upon reaching the area, authorities found several people handling objects inside a vehicle, who fled upon noticing the presence of uniformed personnel. The chase led agents to intercept the criminals near the properties and to search the vehicle, where they found wooden boxes containing 448 packages of cocaine.
When agents entered the first property, they found a hidden compartment containing 498 packages of cocaine. They discovered 5,000 packages of cocaine in the second property. The Police and the Office of the Attorney General seized a total of 8,187 kg of cocaine, the statement said.
Authorities arrested one Colombian and three Ecuadorian nationals for drug possession and transportation, and seized two firearms and cell phones, the statement added.
During a press conference, General Fausto Buenaño, head of the National Police’s Zone 8 Command, said that gangs rent properties in middle-class housing developments to hide drugs.
“In 2021, Ecuador broke a record in drug seizures, reaching 210 tons, 96 of which were found in Guayaquil, the epicenter of the growing crime in the country, leading the government to declare a state of exception to combat insecurity,” the Ecuadorian news site Expreso reported on January 18.