HomeNewsBriefMexican 'Narco-Plane' Crashes in Ecuador
BRIEF

Mexican 'Narco-Plane' Crashes in Ecuador

ECUADOR / 15 MAY 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

A suspect plane carrying over $4 million in cash crashed in northwest Ecuador, killing two Mexican citizens on board, in an indication of the importance of the country as a drug transhipment point and money laundering location.

The Mexican-registered light aircraft (pictured) crashed on Sunday into the so-called "Hill of Death," 26 kilometers southeast of Pedernales in the Pacific province of Manabi. It did not have permission from Ecuador's aviation authority, which stated that the plane was flying too low in order to avoid being detected by radar, reported AFP.

Authorities believe that the two deceased Mexicans were either planning to launder the money, estimated to be $4-5 million in US currency, or use it to purchase narcotics.

Ecuador's Interior Minister Jose Serrano declared that while transnational criminal organizations are not necessarily located in Ecuador, they do operate through the country, which is an important transit point for drugs, reported El Universo.

According to El Comercio, this is the fourth Mexican suspected narco-plane to be found in Ecuador since 2003. The most recent was discovered in September with 1.5 tons of narcotics on board, reportedly belonging to a Mexican-headed criminal group.

InSight Crime Analysis

If the crashed plane was indeed carrying money to pay for a drug shipment, this would be further evidence of Mexican groups' presence in Ecuador. The country's drug trade is dominated by Mexican and Colombian gangs, with the Colombian Rastrojos reportedly the most powerful criminal organization in Ecuador, sending drug shipments from Pacific ports up to Mexico. The Mexican Sinaloa Cartel are also thought to be present.

Mexican criminal organizations are increasing their control further down the drug supply chain, coming to South America themselves to carry out drug deals and organize the shipments north. Though not a major drug-producing nation, Ecuador is a key transit point for narcotics. According to the UN, the Andean country seized the second highest quantity of cocaine in South America in 2009.

The money laundering thesis is also plausible -- Ecuador is a good location for laundering illicit funds, as it uses the US dollar as its currency.

Last month, Ecuador's defense minister unveiled a plan to train some 4,000 military personnel to combat organized crime, days after President Rafael Correa declared that the military was key to a successful fight against criminal gangs. This followed concerns within the military command, expressed in a leaked document, that the country could soon be overrun by 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

HUMAN RIGHTS / 1 MAR 2013

After a slew of reports on Mexico's "disappeared," Mexicans are left to puzzle who the more than 26,000 victims are,…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 11 FEB 2016

The family members of US citizens killed in Mexico from drug violence have sued HSBC for permitting cartels to launder…

MEXICO / 27 MAY 2011

Almost two-thirds of high-ranking state-level security officials in Mexico will be removed from their posts after failing vetting tests, according…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…