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IPFS News Link • Ecuador

Drug Lords are Destroying Ecuador

•, by Emily Thompson

The collaboration between these cartels and local gangs has heightened violence, creating a sense of insecurity for both those involved in criminal activities and innocent civilians.

Furthermore, this infiltration has also resulted in widespread corruption within law enforcement agencies and government institutions, weakening Ecuador's institutions and undermining the rule of law.

The main reason cartels are interested is because Ecuador is a primary drug distribution point to the rest of the world. And its main product, cocaine from its neighbors Colombia and Peru, often ends up in the U.S. and Europe.

For instance, on Sunday, Ecuador experienced its largest single drug seizure ever when it uncovered a massive stash of narcotics at a pig farm in Estero Lagarto, located in the coastal province of Los Ríos, approximately 155 miles from the capital, Quito. This operation led to the discovery of 22 tons of cocaine hydrochloride, with a value of $1 billion on the international market. The drugs were expertly packaged into brick shapes and labeled with the logos of various airlines, indicating their intended destinations.

Ecuador has experienced increasing turmoil since 2019, as officials attempt to uncover links between drug gangs and the police, judges, and politicians. The recent outbreak of violence in the country, involving gang-related conflicts, began with the disappearance of a notorious gangster, José Adolfo Macías Villamar, triggering chaos and riots in major cities. Ecuador's historically peaceful reputation has been marred by a surge in violence, attributed to its geographical location between cocaine-producing countries, a weakened state due to budget cuts, and gang recruitment amid widespread poverty.