The heads of the National Antinarcotics Directorate of the Police and a prosecutor of Guayas agree on the “permeability” of the limits with Colombia and Peru, for the transportation of narcotics. The strengthening of education for children and young people on the risks of trafficking illicit substances is recommended.
The illegal steps used by narco-criminal organizations to introduce drugs to Ecuador cannot be quantified. This is indicated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the latest global report on the problem, published in 2017.
“Drug flows are constantly changing. Due to the transformation brought about by globalization and the diffusion of new communications technology; these currents are characterized, today more than ever, by the rapid variation of traffic routes, modus operandi and methods of concealment, “says the UNODC document.
The reality, inside, is corroborated by Colonel Marcos Villegas, National Anti-Drug Deputy Director, who reveals that in 2012, 129 illegal steps used by drug traffickers were identified in the 586 kilometers of border with Colombia.
General Carlos Alulema, national anti-narcotics director, reinforces this theory and indicates that the extension of the border is a problem to exercise true control. For Alulema, any point of the border can be used by narcos to pass illegal merchandise, starting from the limitations in the control of the Police and the Navy through the National Direction of the Aquatic Spaces (Dirnea).
“In that area we have limitations, we do not have a fluvial police, we must understand that it is a large area, difficult to access, especially in the East, in the jungle area, where the drug can pass at any point,” he says.
For Colonel Villegas the identification of the modes of operation of the drug gangs is important. “Among the strategies of the groups that traffic in alkaloids is the use of vehicles with a double bottom: they use the space where the shock absorbers go to camouflage the substances and place a false floor in the car or truck to hide the drug.”
The officer says that the drug traffickers do not keep their arms crossed and look for other routes and methods of camouflage. “Now that the northern border, on the side of Esmeraldas, is militarized, they look for other steps through Lago Agrio and Tulcán, although that means for them to spend more on transportation and security.”
Alulema adds that intelligence tasks aim to detect where the drug is going using the road network. “There may be 129, 500 or more illegal routes or routes on the border line that’s indifferent because what we analyze is where the cargoes will go.”
For the national anti-drug director this is the work that has allowed the seizure of more than 25 tons of cocaine hydrochloride, between January 1 and May 8, 2018. In the same period, 38 tons were seized on the roads of solid chemical precursors and 9.5 tons of liquid chemical precursors.
In 2017, only 8.5 tons of solid chemicals were seized. The research confirms that 63% of the coca that is sown in Colombia is found in the departments of Nariño, Putumayo and Santander, the first two adjacent to Ecuador.
The UN agency points out that between 2015 and 2016 hectares with illicit crops in Nariño went from 96,000 to 146,000, according to the UNODC report. Villegas reveals that once the controls are over, the drug traffickers pass through Tulcán, go down to Santo Domingo, where they pick up the drugs and continue to Manabí and El Oro.
“That drug is taken out by the ports and goes through Galapagos to Central America until it reaches Mexico or the United States. United, “Villegas said. Regarding the situation of the southern border, the anti-drug director said that the situation “is less intense”, although in Peru this plant is also planted and processed for export.
The fight in the seaports to avoid contamination of the cargoes is addressed by Colonel Villegas, who recommends the strengthening of the citizen culture by educating children and young people in schools and colleges about the danger of trafficking illegal substances.
“The person who gets involved in these activities with the narcos must know that he is exposing his life, his family.” Jhonny Guzmán, a member of the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Transnational and International Organized Crime (Fedoti), agrees with the UN and the Police on the variation of the routes used by drug traffickers to move the illegal cargo and collect it. “Identifying precise steps is difficult because they move everywhere.” Guzmán recommends attacking the structures of drug organizations. (I)