An average of twelve people are detained daily in Zone 8 of Ecuador (including Guayaquil, Durán and Samborondón) linked to international drug trafficking and micro trafficking.
An alarming average that emerges from the 2,134 people apprehended in the first half of 2018, in the 1,884 police operations that were executed against narco-criminal networks and local gangs, dedicated to the collection, distribution and sale of the alkaloid for the internal consumption Actions that have also generated the seizure of more than 14 tons of substances subject to control.
Where does so much drug come from and what gangs are behind the illicit business?
The Colombian journalist Alexander Oyola, researcher on issues of armed conflict, details that the Colombian southwest (border with Ecuador) has become the stronghold of drug trafficking within a convergence of groups such as: the dissident Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Óliver Sinisterra, led by alias Guacho, allegedly killed in an operation, and who they claim has been so successful that he has direct alliances with the Mexican cartel of Sinaloa, which financially supports the group.
As it is known, the departments of Putumayo, Nariño and Cauca concentrate the largest areas of drug seeding, as well as the installation of laboratories and land and maritime routes to take out illicit substances from Colombia.
“In the department of Nariño there is the ELN, today an illegal group that tries to negotiate peace with the Government, but also as the FARC once did, support the corridors and charge a tax on drug trafficking. Clear form of subsistence and leverage of subversion, “says Oyola.
In turn, and in that same area, there is an Organized Armed Group (GAO), alias Otoniel, who call it Los Rastrojos, and ironically also made approaches with the last government for a submission to justice. “It is said that they have the power to take drugs through the (ocean) Pacific and their links supposedly have them with the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel,” in Mexico, dedicated to drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and arms trafficking.
The expert argues that there is a clear danger for Ecuador with the presence of those narco-licit groups in the area. “That border is permeating, the pressure of the authorities is not enough and the bribe of high amounts can corrupt …”.
A large part of the cargo passes through the country, as it is a transit route to other nations and regions, especially through maritime ports; mainly that of Guayaquil, where eight tons of drugs have been confiscated this year, and 15 people have been apprehended, suspected of international drug trafficking.
Another part of the substances is derived to the domestic market for domestic consumption, especially marijuana and cripy, which in recent years has replaced the ‘cholita’, cannabis, standard that was sold everywhere and that, seven years ago began to change.
Rubén, who has been consuming marijuana varieties for 15 years, has felt these changes closely. Not only the product, but the sale that is made in Guayaquil, where a percentage of retailers do it through facades as local or simply from their home, becoming a family business that passes from parents to children.
“Now it’s more common for young people (even teenagers) to sell it at home. This on the one hand is beneficial, because that prevents the consumer from having to risk (or) expose themselves to be involved in terrible things, “says Rubén.
The ‘lifelong’ marijuana, which was mostly sold in tamugas (wrapped in paper tubes), was sold in clandestine places. Rubén bought it in the suburb and in Popular Bastion. Always in humble places or popular citadels.
As of 2011, the ‘cholita’ dropped in quality, to the point that everyone was forced to buy more expensive varieties such as: the skunk, blueberry, AK47, which at the same time began to mass and lower in price. The one of ‘all the life’ is practically extinct at massive level, being replaced by the cripy, assures Rubén.
Marijuana is one of the cheapest drugs, although its price has multiplied ten times more, compared to 10 or 15 years ago. There are presentations of $ 3 the bag in promotions, two cases for $ 5. When there is a shortage, the price goes up, reaching three times or five times. In his 15 years of consumption, Rubén has lived two to three moments of scarcity. “Everything in Guayaquil is going crazy. It happens because of strong seizures: it runs out and people start speculating. “
The ‘miniature bands’ create terror
Drug trafficking and micro-trafficking generate new crimes such as: contract killings, illicit association, intimidation, chulco, robbery, details the prosecutor Stalin Coca, of the Crime Unit against Organized Crime Transnational and International (Fedoti).
The bands in ‘miniature’, as the official describes them, are the ones that are creating fear and sowing terror in the city, for wanting to gain space. “They begin to create panic and violent deaths … those miniature bands are those that proliferate in the city …” According to it maintains, article 228 of the Integral Penal Organic Code (COIP) that establishes the amounts for the consumption of drugs must be reformed.
“This is what causes many micro-trafficking bands to sell in minimal quantities.” National Capos made in Ecuador Between April 2017 and January 2018, the National Police identified four Ecuadorians as leaders of drug trafficking organizations with links to networks like those of Sinaloa, in Mexico, or those of the North of the Valley, in Colombia, as published by EXPRESO in February of this year.
One of them, Édison Washington Prado Álava, better known as Gerald, to whom a fleet was attributed of ships with which he took the drug from Colombia to Ecuador through the Pacific. Today is behind bars. Another who is said to be originally from San Lorenzo, in Esmeraldas, is Walther Arízala Vernaza, known as Guacho, a FARC dissident, also with alleged links to the Sinaloa cartel, considered the most powerful of the Mexican cartels, with an international presence .
Alexander Oyola, researcher on issues of armed conflict
The danger to Ecuador is clear, that border is permeating, the pressure of the authorities is not enough and the bribe of high amounts can corrupt …
Stalin Coca, prosecutor of the Crime Unit Organized Transnational and International
It is a chain that, despite the fact that the State and the authorities fight, is an organized crime that is entrenched in all classes … It is not impossible (to combat it). (I)