Ecuador reaches its highest drug seizure record in a decade

Ecuador is listed as a transit country for drugs shipped to the United States and some European countries.

drugs Ecuadorian, Ecuador reaches its highest drug seizure record in a decade

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With two months to go before the end of 2021, Ecuadorian authorities have seized more drugs than in any of the last ten years. According to official data, 147 tons of drugs have been taken from January of this year until October.

According to data from Ecuador’s Anti-Narcotics Directorate and the Ministry of Government, only 11 tons of drugs were seized in 2011. In other words, in 10 years, the amount of drugs seized has increased by 135 tons.

In 2019, the authorities seized 79 tons of drugs, while in 2020, the amount rose to 128. So far, in 2021, there has been an increase of 12.3%.

Read also: Check out our coverage on Ecuador

One of the largest seizures was made on October 17, in one of the ports of Guayaquil, the commercial capital of Ecuador. More than 3,000 packages wrapped in brown adhesive tape, equivalent to two and a half tons of cocaine, were found there.

According to information from state authorities, 82% of the illicit substances seized are cocaine. The other 18% is distributed among cocaine base paste, marijuana, and heroin.

drugs Ecuadorian, Ecuador reaches its highest drug seizure record in a decade
In June 2021, police seized more than 6 tons of cocaine at the Guayaquil seaport terminal (Photo internet reproduction)

Although Ecuador does not produce drugs, it is one of the routes to be shipped to other countries. The International Narcotics Control Strategy report prepared by the U.S. State Department indicates that cocaine and heroin shipments from Colombia and Peru “are trafficked overland across porous borders and through maritime routes” to Ecuador.

For example, in June 2021, police seized more than 6 tons of cocaine at an Ecuadorian port terminal. This would be “the largest seizure” made at the Guayaquil seaport, according to authorities. The same U.S. Department report estimates that 70% of drugs leave the country through ports from Guayaquil. As in the case of June, it would be hidden in containers.

This year, U.S. President Joe Biden sent a memorandum to the Secretary of State on the presidential determination on the top illicit drug producing or major drug transit countries for 2022. The list published by the White House includes 22 countries, among them several Latin American countries, such as Ecuador.

Ecuador is listed as a transit country for drugs shipped to the United States and some European countries. The national authorities have determined that the drugs produced in Colombia enter the country. The narcotic substances are sent from the Ecuadorian coasts to Central America, North America, or Europe through boats, ships, or containers.

For example, on Saturday, October 16, 2021, Ecuadorian authorities found a ton and a half of cocaine inside the compartments of a boat off the coast of Manta. Sources have reported that, according to their investigations, the shipment was to be delivered to Central America. Five people were arrested in Guatemala for trafficking 650 kilos of cocaine in a boat just four days before this seizure. Three of those detained were Ecuadorians.

In September, national authorities also seized, south of the Galapagos, half a ton of drugs transported in boats to Central America. Of the 19 arrested on that occasion, 16 are listed as fishermen in the records of the Ecuadorian authorities.

“La vuelta” is a form of trafficking in which fishermen carry drugs in their boats to various locations in Central America. This illegal act can pay the fisherman about US$ 25,000. However, the fishermen who deliver the drugs face not being paid the agreed fee, sometimes they are only paid a third of the total. In other cases, they are not paid at all. Others, those who manage to get paid, are then extorted. This was revealed in a report published in the digital media GK.