In 2022, the Police arrested 12,061 people for reasons related to drug trafficking. This means a reduction of 5% compared to the previous year.
The National Police closed 2022 with the seizure of 201 tons of drugs. This was the second highest record in the country’s history and accounts for the growth of activities related to drug trafficking.
According to government authorities, the number of seizures carried out by anti-narcotics agents is the main cause of the security crisis in the country. Last year, in the Ecuadorian territory there were 25 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
However, although seizures grow and violence rises, the same does not occur with the arrests made by the Police of suspects in crimes associated with drug trafficking.
The Ministry of the Interior reported that in 2022, in Ecuador, there were 79,608 arrests. Of this total, 15.2% corresponded to drug trafficking, production, and financing for the sale of drugs.
The crimes associated with this phenomenon were the main cause of arrests in the country, as in 2020 and 2021. Although, in this case, there was a reduction.
The 12,061 arrests for drug trafficking are 5% less than the 12,706 registered in 2021.
And while seizures and violence continue to grow in 2023, arrests continue to decline. During January 2023, the Police registered 997 arrests for drug trafficking. This number is 6% lower than the 2021 monthly average and 1% lower than the 2022 monthly average.
Those arrested for drug trafficking
57 % of those arrested for drug trafficking in 2022 are concentrated in the five provinces that the Government has described as the ‘drug route‘. These are Guayas, Esmeraldas, Manabí, Los Ríos and El Oro.
In Guayas alone, the authorities arrested 4,589 people for crimes related to drug trafficking. In addition to these provinces, there is a high number in Pichincha, with 1,710 arrests.
Of the 12,061 arrests for drug trafficking, 87% correspond to apprehensions, that is, they were caught in flagrante delicto. While the other 13% had arrest warrants issued by judges.
The majority of those captured, 84%, are men.
In terms of age, the largest group of detainees is in the range between 27 and 59 years: 6,188 cases. It also highlights that 699 minors, between the ages of 12 and 18, were arrested. As well as 190 older adults.
90 % of the detainees are Ecuadorian. 9% is divided between Venezuelans and Colombians. While the remaining 1% brings together a variety of nationalities between South Americans, Central Americans and Europeans.
Increase the possession and carrying of weapons
The list of the 10 crimes for which people are arrested the most in Ecuador did not change compared to 2021.
The most notable case is the carrying and possession of weapons. In 2021, there were 3,502 detainees for these actions. In 2022, the record increased to 4,577. That is, there was an increase of 30.7%.