HomeNewsBriefDrug Traffickers Diversify Maritime Routes Out of Ecuador
BRIEF

Drug Traffickers Diversify Maritime Routes Out of Ecuador

ECUADOR / 6 JUN 2013 BY CLAIRE O NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

Drug traffickers have begun shipping cocaine from Ecuador to Brazil, Chile, and Peru, according to the Ecuadorean armed forces, as as they look to avoid the attention of law enforcement and capitalize on the growing domestic markets.

Sources in the armed forces told newspaper La Hora that while traffickers traditionally moved product directly from Ecuador to the US or Europe, smugglers have moved to diversify their routes through Peru, Chile, and Brazil in response to increased anti-narcotics efforts by state security forces. Traffickers have also shifted their supply routes to meet rising demand for drugs in Brazil.

Traffickers reportedly operate principally out of clandestine ports in Manabi, Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, and the Galapagos islands.

One expert consulted by La Hora suggested that traffickers may be only moving small quantities of drugs rather than bulk shipments along these new routes.

InSight Crime Analysis

The diversification of drug trafficking routes through Ecuador is likely linked to the country's increasingly important role as a trafficking transit hub. In November 2012, Ecuador's National Anti-Narcotics Department reported that drugs seized at the country's largest port in Guayaquil jumped from one ton in 2010 to eight tons in 2012. In December, Ecuador's former head of military intelligence claimed that maritime drug trafficking has increased by 90 percent over the past seven years, although he failed to cite the source of these statistics.

The new routes through Ecuador partly reflect new regional trends in drug consumption. Of the three destination countries identified, Brazil is the is currently the world's largest crack cocaine consumer and second largest cocaine consumer, while Chile has the second highest cocaine consumption rate per capita in the region. Both are also renowned shipment points for drugs headed to Europe, often via Africa. 

Colombian and Mexican trafficking organizations are believed to control the international export of cocaine shipments from Ecuador, while Ecuadoreans play a larger role in the domestic drug market. 

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

COCAINE / 6 APR 2019

Ecuador launched an operation to try and halt the flow of narco flights, planes carrying drug shipments, in early April,…

ECUADOR / 19 JUL 2012

Colombian criminal groups are reportedly using unlicensed gold mining in northern Ecuador to launder money, providing another window into how…

ECUADOR / 28 MAR 2013

Ecuadorean armed forces have reported two confrontations with Colombian rebels in a week, as the country marks five years…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…