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The most trafficked drugs in Ecuador, their price and how this activity is linked to a path of violent deaths, according to seizures in recent years

In Guayaquil, Durán and Samborondón, 55% of the 177 tons of the drug seized in 2021 were seized.

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Of the 173 tons seized the previous year in Ecuadorian territory, 146 tons are cocaine hydrochloride, 23 tons are marijuana, 2 tons are cocaine base paste and 512 kilos are heroin.

In the local market, according to the National Antinarcotics Investigation Directorate (DNIA), a kilo of cocaine is valued on the national market at between $1,000 and $2,000. That same kilo of cocaine can cost in Europe more than $40,000. While the kilo of marijuana is valued in the national market for over $500.

Presence of drug trafficking

The jurisdiction called the Metropolitan District of Guayaquil (Zone 8, which includes Guayaquil, Durán and Samborondón) concentrates a large part of the activity of the drug criminal organizations that operate in the country, according to police records. It is easier for these organizations to get drugs out of the country by sea, in apparently legal shipments or modified containers. In this jurisdiction, the Police have seized 55% of the 173 tons of drugs seized in the country, in 2021.

This activity worries the security authorities, because it is linked to problems that affect the normal development of civil society activities. The previous year, Zone 8 registered the largest number of the 2,464 violent deaths reported nationwide. A large part of these events was related to organized crime, according to the Police.

In 2021, 682 murders occurred in the coastal jurisdiction; and in 2020, 362, that is, an increase of 320 such deaths, according to the records of the Ministry of Government.

Of the three cantons that make up Zone 8, Guayaquil and Durán are the most violent, due to attacks between gangs that traffic drugs, under the modality of hired assassins, confrontations that have also been transferred to prisons.

Since last October, several decapitated bodies have been found in Durán. On January 13, on the other hand, residents of Cerro Las Cabras reported a shootout in which at least one long weapon was used, in an apparent fight for territory for illegal activities. The Police responded to the emergency and managed to arrest two people, one of them a minor, from whom they seized a 5.56 caliber rifle and 54 ammunition.

“We want to attack the cause and not just the effect. Identify the leaders of the criminal structures that operate here so that they can be prosecuted. The second step is the collection of information from the territory to analyze it and determine the critical areas and intervene in them in an integral way with the help of the MIES, the Department of Sports, etc.”, indicates Colonel Jorge Hadathy, head of the Durán Police District. .

This comprehensive intervention, he details, aims to pacify critical areas and prevent the recruitment of minors by criminal organizations.

According to Hadathy, so far this year, agents from the preventive service of the Police have arrested 30 people for different reasons, have seized 9 firearms and 53 bladed weapons, and have recovered 26 stolen vehicles (cars and motorcycles), for example. .

Blockade of routes and blow to the patrimony of organizations

Colonel Byron Ramos, national deputy director of Anti-Drug Investigation of the National Police, reports that they work with the Ecuadorian Navy to control the quarantine zones of the Gulf of Guayaquil and other nearby tributary areas and thus reduce spaces for drug trafficking activities.

“We already have open investigations of people who are dedicated to drug trafficking. We are working with the Prosecutor’s Office to open preliminary investigations. In the coming months we will have results. The people and goods related to drug trafficking activity have already been identified, ”says the officer about the actions they carry out to hit the criminal structures in their economic arm.

The Prosecutor’s Office is also tracking several organizations that have chosen to camouflage their presence in urbanizations near Guayaquil, due to the privacy that these housing complexes offer.

“Cases in which they rent a house are frequent, even the owners of these real estate have been investigated so that they provide information on the alleged tenant. It happens that many owners are interested in collecting the rent without knowing the origin of that person, “says Jean Carlos Almeida, investigator of the Prosecutor’s Office for Organized, Transnational and International Crime (Fedoti).

There are also organizations that rent farms near the canton or shrimp farms located in the area of ​​influence of the ports of the city of Buenos Aires.

“Because they are close to the routes taken by ships leaving for Europe. Substances subject to control are stockpiled in shrimp farms. There have been many cases of empty shrimp farms, the pools are dry, and drugs are found,” adds the justice operator.

Almeida recommends that the owners of this type of property investigate who is going to lend or rent any property to avoid problems with the law.

One of the axes on which work will be carried out this year to combat drug trafficking, the authorities consulted say, is intelligence, to get to know the criminal structures that have sowed terror in several cities in the country, investigate them and later dismantle them. (I)

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