Ecuador has seized around four tons of cocaine worth $228 million, which were being smuggled inside a container of canned peaches destined for export to Sierra Leone from the port of Guayaquil. A police dog detected drugs in the container. Anti-drug investigation director, General Pablo Ramírez, said that “3.8 tons” of drugs were seized. According to authorities, criminal groups are exploring new routes to take the drugs, and Africa and Asia are being considered. The police have seized around 40 tons of drugs and made more than 2,500 arrests. The government of Guillermo Lasso has declared war on drug trafficking.
Guayaquil, the country’s main export point for cocaine to Europe, witnessed a seizure of eight tons of drugs in 2020. Ecuador lies between Peru and Colombia, the world’s leading cocaine producers. In 2021, Ecuador set the annual record for seizures with 210 tons, rising to 220 tons in 2022. However, the seizures correlate with an increase in violence in the country, with the homicide rate rising from 14 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021 to 25 in 2022.
The seizure of four tons of cocaine being smuggled in canned peaches from the port of Guayaquil to Sierra Leone has been a major success in Ecuador’s fight against drug trafficking. The seizure, worth around $228 million, indicates that South American countries still face a formidable challenge from drug cartels. The drug trade seems to be expanding its geographical reach, with Africa and Asia now being considered as potential markets.
The government of president Guillermo Lasso has been taking an aggressive stance against drug cartels to curb violence in the country. In 2021, Ecuador set the annual record for seizure of 210 tons of drugs, which increased to 220 tons in 2022. While seizures help reduce the supply of drugs into the market, they often lead to an increase in violence from drug cartels seeking to protect their trade. The homicide rate rose from 14 to 25 per 100,000 inhabitants over the same period.
The seizure of four tons of cocaine in canned peaches from Guayaquil suggests that drug traffickers are seeking innovative ways to transport their product. To curb the drug trade, authorities need to increase vigilance on exports and follow more proactive and predictive methods to curb drug trafficking. Going forward, cooperation across countries and across international borders will be crucial to attack the drug cartels’ networks and eradicate the drug trade. The government of Guillermo Lasso has taken a commendable initiative by declaring war on drug trafficking. However, it needs to be followed with effective implementation and international cooperation to achieve success.