HomeNewsBriefAre Crime Families Fueling Rise in Ecuador Domestic Drug Trade?
BRIEF

Are Crime Families Fueling Rise in Ecuador Domestic Drug Trade?

ECUADOR / 20 NOV 2013 BY NATALIE SOUTHWICK EN

Police in Ecuador have highlighted the role of local drug trafficking clans -- often based on family ties -- within the country's growing drug trade, a sign that Ecuador's increasing importance as a transit point could be catalyzing growth in the domestic market.

Law enforcement officials say they have identified some of the primary families responsible for transport and sales of drugs within Ecuador, especially in the capital of Quito, reported Telegrafo.

Colonel Mauro Vargas, head of the antinarcotics office in Pichincha province, where Quito is located, said recent law enforcement efforts to target these networks have resulted in 20 arrests in the capital, destroying a micro-trafficking ring allegedly responsible for moving around 30 kilos of cocaine a month.

The arrests began with "Operation Renacer" on October 25, which saw 10 accused drug dealers detained in Quito, reported Telegrafo. Authorities in Pichincha have seized a total of 145 kilos of cocaine and 857 kilos of marijuana so far this year.

Officials say the majority of these drugs enter the country from Colombia and Peru and are processed in border provinces before passing on to the capital and other cities. According to Colonel Vargas, law enforcement authorities are following the activity of six other groups involved in domestic drug sales, many based around specific families.

ecuadordrugs

InSight Crime Analysis

There have been numerous indications to suggest a rise in micro-trafficking activity and a growing domestic drug market in Ecuador in recent years. This has coincided with Ecuador's increasing prominence as an important transit point for international cocaine trafficking routes to Europe and other major markets.

Micro-trafficking rising as international drug exports rise is a common phenomenon seen around the region, as international traffickers often pay local associates in product, which then floods the domestic market.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Ecuador

Ecuador's trafficking routes have historically been under the control of transnational organizations, including Colombian groups the Rastrojos, and, more recently, the Urabeños and Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, which is renowned for operating in this way -- recruiting locally and paying in drugs.

While the micro-trafficking networks identified by the police are Ecuadorean, foreign groups are also known to have a stake in the local drug trade, most notably Colombian gang "La Cordillera," which earned an estimated $20,000 a day from the Quito drug trade. However, over the last year, La Cordillera has suffered the loss of several key figures and the extent of their current operations is unclear. 

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 / 22 MAR 2021

Drug trafficking and transnational organized crime have been blamed for deadly riots among rival gangs in Ecuador's prisons, but the…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 4 OCT 2021

Military intelligence has revealed a flow of arms from Chile and Peru into Ecuador along its southern border, highlighting the…

COLOMBIA / 28 SEP 2021

The recent dismantling of a migrant smuggling ring in Colombia has revealed the routes, corruption networks and modus operandi used…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…

WORK WITH US

Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.