HomeNewsBriefEcuador Police-Narco Links Point to Trouble Ahead
BRIEF

Ecuador Police-Narco Links Point to Trouble Ahead

ECUADOR / 30 OCT 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

The latest arrests of high-ranking police officials point to a troubling pattern of official corruption that could be fueling Ecuador's status as a drug transit nation. 

The most recent case involved the arrest of four police, including a major and a colonel who formerly served as the head of Interpol in Ecuador. The police allegedly facilitated the operations of a criminal group that packed drugs into containers bound for export. The Interior Ministry reported that the case resulted in six other arrests, the seizure of 10 packets of cocaine in Quito and another 35 kilos seized at a local airport.

The previous month, seven police were arrested in two other operations. On September 26, two Ecuadorean police were arrested for alleged ties to an organization, while another 250 kilos of Europe-bound cocaine was seized. And in mid-September, five police were arrested for facilitating the passage of cocaine through Quito's international airport, allegedly charging up to $4,000 for each kilo safely sent out, according to the national police

There have now been a total of six cases involving police officials arrested for drug trafficking since 2011, reported El Comercio. Amid concerns over illicit police activity, 557 police were purged from the force between June 2013 and September 2014 for crimes including drug trafficking, according to El Comercio.

InSight Crime Analysis

The fact that the cases mentioned involve a number of high-ranking police officers is worrying for Ecuador and also suggests the arrests could be just the tip of the iceberg -- a dangerous proposition for a country already vulnerable to the influence of the drug trade. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Ecuador

The country's role as a drug transshipment point appears to be growing, with cocaine seizures rising from 14.8 tons in 2010 -- two years after President Rafael Correa decided to close a US air base in Manta used to combat drug trafficking -- to 42.5 tons in 2013, and there also are signs the domestic drug market is expanding. In addition, there is evidence that drug traffickers are not only moving product but using the country as a logistical hub, especially Colombian criminal networks, who have already moved into the country to control drug routes and even micro-trafficking

As seen elsewhere in countries such as Bolivia, an easily corruptible police force is one of the main attractions for migrating criminal networks looking to expand their operations or escape the attentions of security forces back home, and police collusion as in the recent cases will only further encourage organized crime to set up shop in Ecuador.     

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

BRAZIL / 2 DEC 2022

Illegal gold mining in the remote Ecuadorian province of Napo has grown at a staggering rate. Environmental crime has grown…

BRAZIL / 20 FEB 2021

Drug traffickers engage in a creative game of hide and seek with coast guards and other security forces that board…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 31 MAY 2022

The siphoning of guns in police custody to criminals and a naval officer accused of acting in a hit squad…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

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…