Thriving in the Shadows: Cocaine, Crime and Corruption in Ecuador

ECUADOR / 5 FEB 2020

Over the last decade, Ecuador has quietly emerged as a key piece of the global drug trade, with up to a third of Colombia’s record cocaine production now exported through the country.

Cocaine produced in southern Colombia is trafficked into Ecuador through the lawless border provinces of Esmeraldas and Sucumbíos by ex-FARC Mafia groups. Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel has also made its presence felt.

These networks have penetrated the state, contaminating the security forces, the judiciary, and the highest levels of government.

Chapter 1

Ecuador: A Cocaine Superhighway to the US and Europe

DRUG POLICY / 30 OCT 2019

Little attention is paid to Ecuador. The murder rate is low, and there are no drug cartels like those that have dominated the criminal landscape in Mexico and Colombia. Yet…

Chapter 2

Esmeraldas: An Ecuador Province Gripped by Drug Conflict

DRUG POLICY / 5 NOV 2019

For the Ecuadorean province of Esmeraldas on the Pacific side of the Colombia border, 2019 began with a warning that the horrors of the past year were no aberration.

Chapter 3

Sucumbíos: Lawless Ecuador Border Province Is Sanctuary for Traffickers

COLOMBIA / 8 NOV 2019

In January 2019, heavily armed gunmen traveling in a truck and on a motorbike ambushed a small group of anti-narcotics agents in Sucumbíos, the Ecuadorean province that borders Colombia in…

Chapter 4

Treasure, Corruption and Legal Machinations – Gerald’s Legacy in Ecuador

COCAINE / 22 NOV 2019

Gerald’s rise to becoming one of the most notorious drug traffickers Ecuador has produced to date was meteoric. But his fall has been just as dramatic, exposing not only the…

Chapter 5

Telmo Castro – The Sinaloa Cartel’s Man in Ecuador

ECUADOR / 5 FEB 2020

For Ecuador, the death of one of the country’s most notorious homegrown drug traffickers was the end of an era. But for his Mexican bosses, Telmo Castro’s demise will do…

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Institutional Content

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …