The Ecuadorean police seized at least a ton of cocaine in the city of Guayaquil, southwest of Quito, in an operation in which nine people were arrested, authorities announced on February 5.
The seizure took place in the maritime port following the arrest of the nine suspects in various locations in Guayaquil and in the locality of Mocache, which belongs to the neighboring province of Los Ríos.
“More than a ton of drugs, nine people arrested, high-caliber weapons (…) are the results of a police operation,” Justice Minister José Serrano reported on his Twitter account, where he also congratulated the Anti-narcotics Police for their work.
The individuals arrested were brought before a judge to be arraigned for alleged narcotics trafficking, according to the police.
This is the second large drug seizure of 2012, following the announcement by the police and the Navy on January 27 that 1.3 tons of cocaine had been seized in the gulf of Guayaquil, where three Ecuadorean nationals were also apprehended.
That shipment was being stored on a Puná Island shrimp boat, according to authorities, who simultaneously discovered a submersible on Santa Clara Island, 25 km south of Puná, which was used to transport alkaloids to Central America.
In early January, the Ecuadorean Navy detected another drug submersible 60 miles off the coast of Puná Island, in an action in which three Colombian nationals and one Ecuadorean citizen were arrested after they succeeded in sinking the vessel.
Ecuador seized around 26 tons of drugs during 2011, compared to 18 tons in 2010 and a record of 68 tons in 2009 (64 of them cocaine), according to the police.