Ecuador seizes over 9 tons of cocaine destined for Mexico and the US


The Andean country made the largest seizure. Police found the drug hidden behind a false wall.

Ecuador seized some 9.6 tons of cocaine with a commercial value of about $450 million dollars that was hidden in a house in the city of Guayaquil, in the largest seizure made in the Andean country, authorities said.

Ecuador Seizes More Than 9 Tons Of Cocaine Destined For Mexico And The US •  International • Forbes Mexico - Bullfrag

The police found the drug hidden in 157 packages behind a false wall of a building whose facade was the sale of bottles of water in the north of Guayaquil, the largest city in the country. In addition, ten firearms and more than 2,800 large-caliber ammunition were found.

“The alkaloid was destined for the United States and Mexico, with this important police execution it is possible to extract around $450 million dollars from the illegal market,” the police said in a statement released late on Friday.

The transfer of the drugs was intended to be carried out in part by air from clandestine tracks identified in the vicinity of Guayaquil and another through the city’s seaports, the police added.

Two people were arrested in the operation.

“ It is a historic seizure. This operation is very important in our forceful fight against drug trafficking ”, wrote the Interior Minister, Alexandra Vela, on her Twitter account.

The Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office said that, according to the investigations, the case would be related to another seizure registered in July of this year in the same place, where 515 kilograms of drugs were seized and five people were arrested.

Ecuador has seized some 116 tons of drugs so far in 2021, according to data from the Interior Ministry.

In another operation, on July 9, the PNE detained four members of a gang that sent large drug shipments overseas under the leadership of Mario Enrique C. Z., alias Kike, the Ecuadorian newspaper El Universo reported. The capture took place on a farm in Guayas province, where officers found 2.2 tons of cocaine hidden underground, the newspaper added.

General Tannya Varela (left), PNE commander, and Ecuadorian Vice Minister of the Interior Colonel Joel Loaiza (center), received a donation of technological equipment to combat transnational crime from Ory Abramowicz, INL director (right), in Quito, Ecuador, June 25, 2021. (Photo: Ecuadorian National Police)

Authorities are investigating whether Kike contaminated ships at sea, in Posorja, Guayaquil, where his accomplices controlled the vessels that placed the narcotics on ships after they had passed all inspections, the newspaper added.

On June 28, the PNE reported seizing 7,282 kg of cocaine that criminals had hidden in two containers, in Guayaquil. The stash was hidden in a tuna shipment that was bound for Spain.

“It’s the largest seizure that the National Police has ever made […] in the Maritime Port [of Guayaquil],” General Tannya Varela, PNE commander, told the press.

Centralized system

The strategy to counter narcotrafficking in Ecuador increasingly relies on international cooperation. As such, the U.S. government delivered technological equipment and software to the PNE’s General Directorate of Investigations on June 25, the police said in a statement.

The donation came through the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) at the U.S. Embassy in Quito, the statement added. The donation is the first of others that will be arriving shortly, as part of the first stage of a security initiative to dismantle transnational organized crime, the statement said.

“This donation is the result of the good relations that exist and that we must continue to strengthen with […] the United States, to find the best way [to] attack transnational criminal organizations,” Gen. Varela said at the handover ceremony. “This will enable [us] to have a centralized system for timely processing and analysis of information,” said Ory Abramowicz, INL director in Ecuador.

From January through June 22, Ecuador seized more than 70 tons of drugs, the TV channel Ecuavisa reported on its website. Although Ecuador has managed to contain certain outbursts of violence in recent years, narcotrafficking in the country is increasing, indicated Insight Crime, an investigation and journalism organization that focuses on organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Narcotrafficking is already on a very high scale in the country. The police is attacking supply and demand,” Gen. Varela told Ecuavisa. “We will not let crime overtake us; we will be firm and tenacious in the fight against organized crime.”


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