HomeNewsBriefIn Rare Find, Ecuador Discovers Coca Far From Colombia Border
BRIEF

In Rare Find, Ecuador Discovers Coca Far From Colombia Border

ECUADOR / 12 MAR 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

Ecuador found a coca plantation miles away from the Colombia border where the crop is usually concentrated, suggesting that production levels may be increasing inside the country.

An army patrol from the 19th Jungle Brigade discovered a total of four hectares of coca in Cuyabeno National Park in northern Ecuador, reports El Comercio. The coca was apparently planted in small plots in various locations. In one sector, the patrol unit also found weapons and·t-shirts bearing the colors of the Ecuadoran army.

Small hectares of coca are usually found close to Colombian border, not deep inside Ecuadorian territory. Brigade commander Colonel Fausto Berrazueta told El Comerico that the 19th Jungle Brigade is responsible for monitoring a huge amount of ground, and thus he could not rule out the possibility that other coca plantations exist. He added that the army will begin searching for coca base laboratories in the area.

InSight Crime Analysis

Despite terrain and climatic conditions that make the country an ideal location for coca, Ecuador has so far avoided the kind of production levels seen in Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. Instead, Ecuador is primarily a transit point for narcotics. In 2009, the Andean nation seized the second-highest amount of cocaine in South America, according to the UN's 2011 World Drug Report.

However, this recent find in Cuyabeno, combined with last year's discovery of a 12-acre poppy field, suggest that the production of these illicit crops may be on the rise. If this is indeed the case, the country's authorities may be ill-equipped to deal with it, as Berrazeuta's comments implied.

The recent US International Narcotics Control Strategy Report paints a bleak picture of Ecuador's institutional capacity to deal with organized crime, highlighting the country's porous borders, corruption, and an under-resourced military and police force. Though President Rafael Correra has deployed some 10,000 extra personnel to the northern border in an effort to tackle security concerns, the security forces reportedly fear that so far, such measures have been insufficient. If not addressed soon, they allegedly say, the country could be overwhelmed by drug trafficking and organized crime.

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 / 5 APR 2021

Authorities in Ecuador have seized close to 200 baby tortoises native to the Galápagos Islands that are coveted in the…

COCAINE / 17 FEB 2022

The discovery of two bodies hanging from a bridge in Ecuador may be the starkest sign yet of the country’s…

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…