HomeNewsBriefEcuador Identifies Illegal Crossings on Colombia Border
BRIEF

Ecuador Identifies Illegal Crossings on Colombia Border

ECUADOR / 19 JUL 2012 BY MICHAEL KANE EN

Ecuador's government has reported the existence of 26 unsanctioned border crossings into Colombia, which pose a security problem to both countries, as Ecuador is becoming an increasingly important drug transshipment point for Colombian gangs.

Many of the border crossings that the Defense Ministry identified to Ecuadorean newspaper La Hora are concentrated in the troubled province of Carchi, a known refuge for Colombian rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and in Sucumbios. (See InSight Crime's map of Ecuador's illegal border crossings, below).

When Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos had their first formal meeting in December, the problem of illegal border crossings was high on the agenda. These have been widely tolerated by both governments for years; farmers and business owners in the region contend that because of the lack of formal border crossings, they must use these informal points to move their goods across the border.

However, the crossings present a threat to regional security, as they may also be used to smuggle weapons, drugs, and precursor chemicals between the two countries. According to La Hora, the last time Colombia and Ecuador attempted to shut down several of these illegal border crossings was in 2004.

InSight Crime Analysis

Since Santos improved relations with Ecuador, much of the renewed relationship between the two countries has focused on combating the criminal groups that straddle the border. In the past several years Ecuador has become a major smuggling route for various contraband, and increasing cooperation between the two Andean countries is aimed at curbing that growth.

A 2011 report by International Crisis Group describes this increased collaboration. In June 2011, the two countries initiated an intelligence sharing agreement. Ecuador also passed a tougher refugee law to make it more difficult for Colombians to take advantage of asylum in Ecuador, as some were claiming refugee status in order to orchestrate illegal cross-border activities. Meanwhile, Bogota began funneling more mining, oil, and gas royalties to border provinces, so that these local governments could rely on a bigger budget for security issues.

Other signs of cooperation have revolved around a militarized response. In January, Correa sent 10,000 more troops to the northern border to increase security. In April, he made a rare acknowledgment that the FARC are indeed present in Ecuador, and reaffirmed his government's commitment towards pursuing and capturing them.

The cooperation has had limited results. In November 2011, Ecuador announced a 30 percent increase in cocaine seizures compared to 2010. However, this was still markedly lower than the 2009 seizure rate. It is also unclear whether this increase is because the Ecuadorean security forces are more effective at tracking and seizing drug shipments, or because there is simply more cocaine moving through the country.


View Ecuador-Colombia Border Crossings in a larger map

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

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 2 JUN 2022

Illegal gold mining drives the destruction of Peru's Amazon, where fortune seekers strip forests and leave behind poisonous pools of…

ECUADOR / 24 DEC 2021

Ecuador's descent into violence followed a common path: more cocaine led to more cash and more weapons for the gangs.

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 27 JUL 2022

When the Chinese fishing fleet was discovered near Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, its vessels were not all flagged to China. Some…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…