HomeNewsBriefMulti-ton Seizures Point to Return of Massive Cocaine Shipments
BRIEF

Multi-ton Seizures Point to Return of Massive Cocaine Shipments

ECUADOR / 2 MAR 2017 BY LEONARDO GOI EN

A string of multi-ton cocaine seizures in Ecuador and the Caribbean suggest massive drug shipments have made a comeback in Latin America, a development that’s likely linked to a surge in Colombian cocaine production. 

On February 27, US Coast Guard officials intercepted a fishing boat in international waters north of Suriname that was carrying approximately 4.2 tons of cocaine, reported Coast Guard News. The shipment is reportedly valued at $125 million, and represents the largest maritime seizure in the Atlantic Ocean since 1999.

The following day, police forces in Ecuador seized an estimated 2.3 tons of liquid cocaine that was mixed with oil and destined for Mexico, El Telégrafo reported. The operation took place in the province of Guayas, where Ecuador’s largest city and main port, Guayaquil, is located.

Authorities also confiscated about 10 tons of cocaine over the span of several days in November and December of last year, including a 7.5 ton shipment in Guayaquil.   

InSight Crime Analysis

Massive cocaine shipments leaving Latin America’s shores were thought to be a thing of the past, but the recent seizures disprove this theory. Authorities are believed to capture only a small percentage of all drug shipments, meaning a significant number of multi-ton loads are probably making their way to Central America and eventually the United States. 

The most likely explanation for this is the ongoing cocaine production boom in Colombia, the world’s largest supplier of the illegal drug. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that Colombian coca cultivation rose 39 percent between 2014 and 2015, and that its annual potential cocaine production has reached 646 metric tons. With that much product flooding the market, it’s unsurprising that drug traffickers are taking bigger risks in the hopes of even bigger payoffs. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Cocaine Production

Changes in US consumption trends could also be playing a role. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), deaths from cocaine overdose have hit their highest point since 2007. US officials also registered a 57 percent increase in seizures between 2014 and 2015, suggesting a greater amount of cocaine is once again reaching US consumers following a prolonged decline in user rates.  

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.

Tags

Related Content

ECUADOR / 16 APR 2012

Allegations that Ecuador’s lax immigration policies make it a strategic asset to terrorist organizations like al Qaeda are overblown, overshadowing…

COLOMBIA / 5 FEB 2013

More than 20,000 kilos of cement, thought to be intended for cocaine production in Colombia, were seized by Ecuadorean…

ECUADOR / 24 FEB 2015

In just the first two months of the year, Ecuador drug seizures have increased fivefold compared to the same time…

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…