The plane that the anti-drug agents confiscated on Monday, April 29, 2019 has two engines, is modern and has twice the capacity of other aircraft detected in similar operations.
The Police recognize that these characteristics show how transnational mafias have “strengthened” their air operations. The National Counternarcotics Directorate tracked the movements of this device since June 2018 and detected links with drug traffickers.
But he also made legal private flights. Its registration is Ecuadorian and the researchers say that “it has all the documents up to date”. That’s why it was located in a hangar at the Guayaquil airport.
“The planes that we have found before have a single engine and can carry half a ton of drugs. The latter can transport up to three tons on a trip, “says an anti-narcotics agent.
The number of ships involved in drug trafficking has also increased in recent years. Between January and April of 2019 four cases. In 2018 one was discovered and in 2017 there were no reports.
For researchers, this phenomenon responds to a “strengthening” of the economic power of criminal networks. An aircraft like the one seized last Monday has an average cost of USD 400 000. To this value are added the expenses for logistics, bribes, payments for security, transportation, purchase of the drug in Colombia and transfer to Ecuador.
“An operation to carry out large-scale trafficking easily exceeds one million dollars,” warns a police officer who tracks this type of incident. Another uniformed launches more data: those who finance these air routes are Mexican cartels, which send their emissaries with large amounts of cash.
Expand April 1, 2019. A small plane landed in El Aromo, Manabí. In the place was found USD 156 630, eight people were arrested. Photo: Courtesy On January 26, for example, the Anti-Narcotics Directorate carried out an operation in Guayaquil and seized of USD 999 932 in cash, which were transported in two cardboard boxes, inside a double cabin truck.
The first data indicated that the money apparently came from drug trafficking. However, on April 4, a judge ordered the return of the money to their owners for “lack of evidence.” In the operation on Monday, the police identified a Panamanian as the person in charge of the group’s finances.
Along with him, 14 men were arrested. One of them is a soldier in active service. This Tuesday, April 30, 2019, a judge of the Multicompetent Unit of Naranjal, in Guayas, issued the imprisonment ballots for all the suspects. The two crew members of the plane that crashed on March 10 in Montecristi, Manabí, are also in jail.
They were from the state of Tabasco, in Mexico. In that territory operates the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, a group that was born in 2007 as an armed branch of the Sinaloa Cartel. Currently, the two crew members and an Ecuadorian They are detained in Manabí.
Expand April 13, 2019. Loss of a plane in Guayas, Puerto Inca. Photo: Courtesy In the case of the foreign ship that took off from the Pacific Refinery, on April 1, its crew fled, but eight Ecuadorians were arrested. The agents indicate that they were in charge of the logistics and of giving security to the aircraft.
For that reason, those involved had $ 156,630 in cash and 16 large-caliber firearms, including three rifles and a grenade launcher. In the last operation, the agents preferred to capture the organization before the drug was shipped in the plane, just to avoid the leak.
The 510 kilos of cocaine were found on the edge of a track, located in Puerto Inca, 76 km from Guayaquil. The track, 650 meters long and 10 meters wide, has a register of the General Directorate of Civil Aviation for aerial fumigation operations.
Drums were found next to the drug with 980 liters of gasoline. His destination was Mexico, according to authorities. In that same sector of Puerto Inca, the Ecuadorian Air Force (FAE) detected another small plane on April 13.
The ship entered without authorization from the Pacific to Ecuadorian airspace. According to the FAE, two Super Tucano planes followed the aircraft, but it managed to escape. A day later, the incinerated fuselage was found in a rural area between Guayas and Cañar.
The Ministry of Defense announced last week the acquisition of a new radar to improve controls. In context According to the National Counternarcotics Directorate, from 2003 to April of this year, 21 small planes have been found in operations against drug trafficking.
All were located on the Coast. This area is preferred because of the proximity to the sea, because of the low altitude and the large tracts of land. (I)