In the first two months of 2020, anti-narcotics operations have presented strong results. Around 10 tons (10,000 kilograms) of drugs were seized in operations nationwide.
In January alone, 6,575 kilos of drugs (6.5 tons) were seized in 17 “Victoria” operations.
General Marco Villegas, national director of Anti-Narcotics, acknowledged that there is great expectation to overcome the results compared to previous years.
From the Directorate, what has been the strategy to increase drug seizures within the country?
Our strategy is divided into two optics: internal consumption traffic and international traffic. In the first one there is a unit that investigates groups in our country that are dedicated to internal sales.
How does this unit operate?
They operate successfully throughout the territory, after coordinating with the sub-zone units of the country. This distributive allows us to perform daily measurements.
What are the areas where more seizures were made?
In 2019, for example, 14,642 grams of drugs were seized in Guayaquil, other significant quantities were located in Esmeraldas, Manabí, El Oro and Carchi.
What are the years that have presented the best results in drug confiscation?
In 2017, 98 tons of drugs were seized; in 2018 they were 97, while in 2019, the figure was 82 tons.
There is a reduction in seizures, why?
This symptom not only happened in Ecuador. It was a regional reduction in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and we were no exception. Hence, in 2019, of the 82 tons confiscated, 15,847 kilograms (k) (15 tons with 847 k) corresponded to internal consumption traffic; we seized almost a ton more than the previous year. While for international traffic they were 62,580 k (62 tons with 580 k).
How are they organized against international traffic?
Five special units and two support units are deployed. The former investigate and dismantle criminal organizations. They are distributed in ports and airports, and border points where the most important cases occur.
And there is a special unit dedicated to the control of drugs destined for Europe.
How does the Anti-Narcotics Directorate operate in coordination with other countries?
International support is important. We have agreements with Chile, Peru, Colombia, but also with countries in Europe.
We also integrate the International Drug Trafficking Network; Last January we participated in the SAWG Regional Conference in Brazil. The presidency to Ecuador was even appointed for the period 2020-2021.
The Minister of Government, María Paula Romo, congratulated the cooperation agreement on security with the United States (USA), especially in the fight against drug trafficking. What is your expectation?
We have high expectations for the agreement. International support is always important. If not, let’s look at the scope of Colombia. We had a decade of international helplessness and today that cooperation is open.
With this, countries are strengthened with international support, especially when drug trafficking is a transnational crime.