The signing of the cooperation memorandum occurred one day after the seizure of nine tons of cocaine in Ecuador, which were to be trafficked to Belgium.
The signing of the agreement against crime was in charge of the Ministers of the Interior of Ecuador and Belgium. On the Ecuadorian side, Juan Zapata. While for the European nation it was signed by Annelies Verlinden. It happened on February 27, 2023, in Quito.
This is a Memorandum of Cooperation in order to prevent and combat transnational organized crime.
After signing this document, it is planned:
- Promote the exchange of information in accordance with international and national legislation.
- Establish coordination and collaboration mechanisms for the exchange of information, methodology, procedures and experiences.
- Exchange good practices, successful and technological experiences related to the fight against transnational organized crime.
Minister Zapata said that the signing of this Memorandum is a great opportunity to increase security cooperation with Europe.
The official stressed the importance of this collaboration because there is evidence of the growing interdependence in criminal terms between Latin America and the European Union, specifically, between countries with maritime and port connections such as Ecuador and Belgium.
Minister Verlinden, for her part, stressed that cooperation is essential to fight against organized crime, as well as against drug trafficking.
Important seizure on the eve
On February 26, 2023, the Ecuadorian Police reported the seizure of nearly nine tons of cocaine in one of the Guayas ports. The intention was to ship the drugs to Belgium, camouflaged in a banana export shipment.
The seizure is one of the largest in recent years in Ecuador.
Anti-drug agents found the drug when inspecting a container in one of the Guayaquil port terminals.
From inside the container, rectangular packages of cocaine were extracted whose combined weight was 8,780 kilos, with an estimated value in Europe of some USD 330 million.
Since the beginning of 2023, more than 31 tons of drugs have been seized in Ecuador, in more than 1,500 operations nationwide, according to Police data.
2021 and 2022 closed with more than 200 tons seized in Ecuador. This placed Ecuador as the third country in the world with the most apprehensions, only surpassed by Colombia and the United States.