They appeared to be tourists. His luggage was simple: a backpack and a suitcase with wheels. Nothing in his appearance attracted attention. There were no weapons or large amounts of money.
However, the purpose of his visit to the country was to coordinate and finance the shipment of tons of cocaine and marijuana to the United States. They are four emissaries of the Sinaloa cartel, who were part of a drug trafficking network with links in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador.
The Police of the five countries investigated the suspects – Colombians, a Guatemalan and a Mexican – and their support networks, for more than a year. In the country, agents detected the arrival of emissaries in July 2017.
During their visit, they followed them to restaurants, hotels and beaches. They were also monitored when they left the country, on a flight from Esmeraldas to the Colombian city of Cali. From that moment on an international investigation was activated for his capture.
On August 14, 38 people were arrested in Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico. But the investigation against this structure began in July of 2017, when Antinarcotics detected the presence of foreign drug traffickers in Manta and Portoviejo, in Manabí, and in San Lorenzo and Atacames, in Esmeraldas.
That was the first time that the Guatemalan alias ‘Chema’ and a Mexican appeared on the radar of the Ecuadorian Police. Prosecutors from five countries stated that the emissaries bought drugs from the armed group Gente del Orden, with a presence in Tumaco, department of Nariño (Colombia).
Allied groups coordinated the shipment of shipments of cocaine base paste to Ecuador. Already in the territory, the substance was taken to two laboratories for refining cocaine, located in El Carmen, Manabí, and in San Lorenzo, Esmeraldas (now they are destroyed).
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, these had the capacity to refine a ton of cocaine hydrochloride every three days. At the same time, alias ‘Chema’ and the Mexican emissary met in Cali, Bogotá and Tumaco with two other members of the organization.
Then, the four men passed the border control in Tulcán. In that place, the brothers David, Eiver, Francisco and Fair (now detained) were waiting for them to move them to San Lorenzo, Esmeraldas, Tonsupa, Manta and Portoviejo. In these cities negotiations were held on drug shipments to Guatemala, where the substance was collected.
Then she went to Mexico and finally moved to the US. The stay of foreigners in Ecuador was one month. At that time they were always escorted with up to 12 people, according to an undercover agent. Although they had a security ring, the drug dealers went unnoticed. They wore shorts, t-shirts, sandals and glasses.
Every one or two days they changed hotels, always five stars, they moved in luxury cars and before arriving at a place they sent their men to detect the presence of police or enemies. The meetings were held in restaurants, cafeterias and in their hotels. There they contacted the people who led the logistical support networks: transporters, boatmen, supplying chemicals to refine the drug, etc.
According to the investigation, in Ecuador these emissaries financed the storage, refinement and shipment of cocaine through four routes. This was done by speedboats and containers. They also financed the purchase of gallons of gasoline, which were taken to the south of Colombia, from where other boats loaded with cocaine left.
According to a prosecutor, the arrest of this network was achieved thanks to international coordination. “You cannot stop them just to come and talk. The crime was needed and this transnational operation was promoted, “added one agent.
The researcher pointed out that the group was so well structured that the emissaries arrived in Ecuador with “just enough”. The money they were carrying was used only to pay for the hotels and the mobilization. The payment to the support networks was made through links and third parties.
Thus they buy the merchandise, they pay to the boatmen, the fuel, the security and the commissions for the shipment. “They do not arrive loaded with money in small planes. They handle high sums through third parties, who have money in Ecuador, “revealed an agent.
For Carlos Alulema, director of Antinarcotics, the presence of Mexican and other emissaries is not new. He argued that the role of foreigners is that of financiers, coordinators and supervisors.
From January until August 19, the Anti-narcotics Police seized 42.5 tons of drugs destined for international markets, and another 9.1 tons for domestic consumption. Only last weekend we detected 2.3 tons of cocaine. (I)