Quito’s police chief has warned that the Ecuadorean security forces may be involved in organized crime, noting that the professionalism of some attacks carried out in the city suggest that criminal gangs have had military-style training.
The commander of Quito’s Metropolitan Police, Colonel Juan Carlos Rueda, made the comments during a debate organized by El Comercio newspaper on “Insecurity in Quito – Strategies for 2012.”
The secretary of homeland security, Lourdes Rodriguez, said that the city faced “serious” security problems, but stressed that the homicide rate in Quito is below the national average.
Ecuador has shown signs of becoming a new hotspot for transnational organized crime in recent years. Transnational criminal gangs from Colombia and Mexico are thought to be increasing their presence in the country, prompting a U.S. drug official to refer to country as the “UN of organized crime” in July.
As InSight Crime has previously reported, political instability, lax visa policies, the country’s proximity to Colombian drug cultivation areas and the adoption of the U.S. dollar as official currency (facilitating money laundering) have all played a part in the increasing presence of these gangs in Ecuador.