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.

Tags

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 / 4 NOV 2013

More than 400 Ecuadorean police officers have been detained for suspected criminal activity, as attempts to reform chronically corrupt law…

BRAZIL / 11 DEC 2020

The world’s biggest oil trading firm faces a large fine after a multi-country investigation revealed it bribed Brazilian, Mexican and…

COLOMBIA / 22 NOV 2011

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

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…