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. 

Compartir icon icon icon

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 / 5 FEB 2020

For Ecuador, the death of one of the country’s most notorious homegrown drug traffickers was the end of an era.

COLOMBIA / 22 NOV 2011

The discovery of an illicit poppy field in Ecuador draws attention to increasing production of heroin in Latin America, with…

ECUADOR / 27 FEB 2013

Ecuador must deal with its continued failure to comply with international standards on money laundering and financing terrorism, according…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…