HomeNewsBriefDrug Bust Sparks Deadly Shootout Between Ecuador Police
BRIEF

Drug Bust Sparks Deadly Shootout Between Ecuador Police

ECUADOR / 7 JAN 2015 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

A shootout between police allegedly smuggling drugs and their colleagues has left two officers dead and ratcheted up concerns over the deepening role of the police in Ecuador's drug trade.

According to a statement made by Ecuador's Vice Minister of the Interior Diego Fuentes, on January 4 special ops police, intelligence forces and anti-organized crime police intercepted three policemen travelling in a patrol car, reported La Hora. Attempts to disarm the three sparked a shootout that claimed the lives of two officers -- one a suspect, the other an arresting officer.

Fuentes said the three were carrying 31 kilos of marijuana, which authorities believe had been smuggled in from Colombia and were intended for Ecuador's domestic market, reported El Comercio.

The clash took place in the province of Esmeraldas, a main drug trafficking artery on the border with Colombia.

In the wake of the violence, El Comercio reported that intelligence reports suggest Colombian insurgent groups and Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel have been seeking to corrupt police officials in Ecuador.

InSight Crime Analysis

There have been numerous cases in recent years that suggest police corruption has grown hand in hand with Ecuador's status as a drug transit nation. However, this latest case suggests this dynamic has evolved beyond the simplest and most traditional forms of corruption associated with the drug trade.

At the most basic level, drug traffickers operating in transit countries such as Ecuador will bribe security forces to ensure the unhindered passage of drug shipments. The level of cooperation may expand to include police providing intelligence to trafficking rings or even acting against rival traffickers based on information the criminals themselves provide.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Ecuador

However, in Esmeraldas it appears the police were actually smuggling the drugs, actively participating in trafficking to the extent that they were even willing to open fire against colleagues to protect their shipment and themselves.

It is also significant that they were moving marijuana. Whereas previous cases have mostly involved cocaine destined for foreign markets, as authorities stated the marijuana was likely smuggled from Colombia into Ecuador for domestic consumption, suggesting the police are now also involved in micro-trafficking within Ecuador.

Much of Colombia's marijuana production is controlled by rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), adding weight to El Comerico's as yet unconfirmed claims that Colombian insurgent groups are corrupting Ecuador's police.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 13 NOV 2019

A massive flow of smuggled fuel from Ecuador into Colombia is benefiting drug traffickers who use it to produce cocaine…

CONTRABAND / 14 DEC 2020

An ongoing gang war in Ecuador’s prisons has made 2020 the bloodiest year on record for inmates, underscoring how the…

ECUADOR / 4 FEB 2013

A presidential candidate in Ecuador has fallen victim to an express kidnapping, a crime becoming increasingly common across Latin…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Collaborating on Citizen Security Initiatives

8 JUN 2021

Co-director Steven Dudley worked with Chemonics, a DC-based development firm, to analyze the organization’s citizen security programs in Mexico.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Deepens Its Connections with Universities

31 MAY 2021

A partnership with the University for Peace will complement InSight Crime’s research methodology and expertise on Costa Rica.

THE ORGANIZATION

With Support from USAID, InSight Crime Will Investigate Organized Crime in Haiti

31 MAY 2021

The project will seek to map out Haiti's principal criminal economies, profile the specific groups and actors, and detail their links to elements of the state.

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.