In 2009, Ecuadorean authorities stopped 63 tons of cocaine, a record for Ecuador and a nearly 100 percent increase from 2008.
Drug traffickers are increasingly using the country as a transit route for their merchandise, as evidenced by the uptick in siezures and the arrest this week in Ecuador of an operative authorities said was connected to the Mexican criminal operation, the Sinaloa Cartel.
InSight Crime developed this map to illustrate the most prolific drug routes through Ecuador.
While the country does not produce many illicit substances, it is positioned between the two largest cocaine producers in the world. This geography makes it an optimal, or sometimes necessary, weigh station and embarkation point.
The Sinaloa Cartel obtains cocaine from both Colombia and Peru. To be sure, the operative arrested in Ecuador this week was said to be leading an armed cell along the border of Ecuador and Peru.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) also sell refined cocaine along the Colombia – Ecuadorean border to other criminal syndicates.
The FARC has ties to the Sinaloa, Juarez and Tijuana Cartels. Colombian authorities say the Mexican cartels send operatives to buy refined cocaine or the coca base to process it themselves in laboratories along the Peruvian, Ecuadorean and Colombian borders, then ship it north to the United States, or west to Asia.
View InSight Map: Drug Routes – Ecuador in a larger map