The seizure in Ecuador of 2.2 tons of cocaine and a submersible capable of transporting up to 15 tons of drugs led President Rafael Correa to declare on June 26 that his country is one of the region’s most efficient in the fight against drug trafficking.
“We’re one of the most effective countries in the region in the fight against drug trafficking; we’re the only Andean country that doesn’t have drug crops,” the president told the press after the police and the Navy revealed the results of three separate operations on the Pacific coast.
He added that, “with all due respect to Colombia and Peru, we’re in between the two largest drug producers, and it’s going to be very difficult to avoid having trafficking.”
The Anti-Narcotics Unit exhibited 1.2 tons of cocaine to the press that it found abandoned on a beach in the southwestern part of the country the previous week.
“The packaging suggests that they were going to load (the drugs) onto speedboats in order to export them from the continent,” said the top national anti-narcotics official, General Juan Carlos Barragán, adding that “we can’t rule out links to other events” reported in recent days.
On June 23, three Mexicans were arrested off the coast of the province of Manabí (in southwestern Ecuador), on board a speedboat on which they were transporting fuel allegedly intended for drug-trafficking activities.
On May 13, a Mexican-registered small plane crashed on a hillside in Manabí, causing the deaths of its two occupants, of the same nationality.
The plane, which was allegedly involved in drug trafficking and was flying at low altitude and without lights in order to avoid being detected by radar, was found to be carrying 1.3 million dollars.
The police said that another operation allowed them to locate 14 packages with around 1 ton of cocaine in residences searched in the port of Guayaquil (in southwestern Ecuador), on June 24, and to arrest five Ecuadorean citizens and one Colombian national.
The agency added that the narcotics were apparently packed in cans of tuna for shipment abroad.
“Police sources revealed that the drugs seized came from Peru and were processed in the port city for subsequent transport to Europe by sea,” the state news agency Andes said for its part.
Meanwhile, the Navy reported that a submersible was discovered on a small island in the Gulf of Guayaquil (280 km southwest of Quito) on June 25. The vessel was in the final phase of construction, the National Aquatic Spaces Directorate specified in a statement.
It added that the vessel, 15 meters long and 4 meters wide, is believed to be capable of transporting between 10 and 15 tons of drugs.