Ecuador, which shares a border with Colombia, the world’s largest cocaine producer, is applying mechanisms to prevent the infiltration of international organizations of drug traffickers, President Rafael Correa said.
“We are taking measures to prevent the infiltration of international cartels into Ecuador,” the president said in an interview with Gama television network on July 25.
He added that “Ecuador is probably the only country that does not produce coca.”
“Do you know how difficult it is to monitor whether there is narcotics trafficking in our country when, with all affection and respect for Colombia and Peru, we border on the world’s largest cocaine producers?” Correa asked.
Colombia saw a slight increase in the area with coca plantations in 2011, with a total of 64,000 hectares (3 percent more than in 2010), according to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released on July 25, in Bogotá.
That country’s total cocaine production in 2011 was 345 tons, a slight decrease of 1.4 percent compared to the previous year.
Up to now, Colombia has been the leading producer of cocaine and has had the world’s largest area of coca plantations, followed by Peru and Bolivia, countries that have not yet published their figures for 2011.
During the first six months of 2012, Ecuador seized around 18 tons of drugs, chiefly cocaine. Seizures of narcotics reached 26 tons in 2011, compared to 18 tons in 2010 and the record of 68 tons in 2009.
On July 23, four Ecuadorean police officers were arrested for alleged extortion targeting a man whom they linked with the apparent drug money found on a Mexican small plane that crashed in May.
Two Mexican nationals, who died in the accident in the coastal province of Manabí (in southwestern Ecuador), were traveling on the aircraft, in which the authorities found 1.3 million dollars.