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

ECUADOR / 30 MAY 2019

The intoxication of 204 inmates in a prison in Ecuador is the latest revelation of deep-seated corruption inside the country’s…

ECUADOR / 10 JAN 2011

In what is both an unorthodox anti-corruption effort and an unusual political appeal to Ecuador's immigrant community, Ecuador’s President Rafael…

COCAINE / 23 DEC 2019

Before the call dropped, Bexy learned the hazardous details of Manuel’s journey. Desperate to find money to rebuild their home,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…