HomeNewsBriefEcuador Chemical Tracking to Test Traffickers' Adaptability
BRIEF

Ecuador Chemical Tracking to Test Traffickers' Adaptability

ECUADOR / 5 DEC 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Ecuador is developing new technology to track chemicals used in drug production as they move through the country, in a step that could be undermined by the adaptability of drug cartels in finding alternative sources and substitute chemicals.

Rodrigo Velez, the executive director of the National Council for the Control of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances (Consep) announced the body would be implementing a new monitoring system using GPS tracking chips placed on all vehicles transporting precursor chemicals required for drug production, reported El Telegrafo.

The chip will not only track the route the vehicles take and where the chemicals are handed over but also whether it stops on the way and if the containers are opened.

The equipment for the new system is already in place, and the operation will be launched at the start of next year.

Velez also announced the launch of a new research center to study what chemicals drug traffickers are using to manufacture drugs. Although the preferred precursor chemicals are well known, restrictions on their availability have led to traffickers using alternatives or synthesizing their own versions with more readily available chemicals. The new institute will analyze the end product to try to track evolutions in precursor use.

InSight Crime Analysis

While Ecuador's efforts to tackle the precursor trade are a welcome move, they are more likely to inconvenience drug traffickers than make a genuine dent in drug production.

One of the main issues in regard to limiting precursor chemicals is the ability of traffickers to avoid more restrictive laws or closer monitoring by simply sourcing precursor chemicals elsewhere. While Velez expressed a desire to implement this new tracking system regionally -- especially in key producer countries Peru and Colombia -- unless the entire region adopts the new system, there will continue to be ways of getting around controls.

Some countries simply do not have the resources to finance such high-tech solutions. Others, notably Argentina, where the current and previous presidents accepted large political donations from shady characters linked to the trade, have shown a lack of political will to do so.

There is also the issue of substitute chemicals. While Ecuador is intending to take action against this as well, the reality is that such a broad range of possible substitutes exists -- many of them common and easily acquired substances, such as cement -- that this will be very difficult to control.

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.

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 / 31 MAR 2015

Ecuadorian children are leaving, by the dozens, for the United States. They don't carry visas and they pack light. …

ECUADOR / 24 APR 2012

Ecuador's president has called organized crime the number one target for the country's military, in a sign that he is…

PERU / 27 MAR 2014

United Nations heritage body UNESCO has praised Peru's efforts in fighting the illegal trading of patrimonial artifacts, a crime that…

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…