Ecuadorean authorities seized an illegal shipment of weapons allegedly destined for the FARC that included anti-aircraft munitions and sub-machine guns, on the border with Peru.
The shipment, which was confiscated in the border town of Huaquillas on August 1, also contained mortars, anti-tank weapons, and .50 caliber ammunition, reported El Tiempo.
Ecuadorean authorities detained two adults and a minor, one of whom was Colombian.
El Pais reported that the shipment had crossed the border from Peru. The local police chief admitted that due to the length of the border, it is likely that there are “secret places through which arms are probably passing,” but said that the police are committed to stopping this flow.
InSight Crime Analysis
Ecuador is a major point of supply for Colombian guerrilla groups. A 2005 report by the RAND Corporation found that arms entering Colombia from Ecuador “emanate mostly from stolen military stocks … that have been illegally resold by members of private security firms.” In March 2011, a raid on a weapons factory in Quito revealed an alleged arms trafficking ring that was suspected of supplying the FARC.
A similar shipment was seized in southwestern Ecuador in February, and in June, Colombian newspaper Vanguardia Liberal reported that police in Cauca had seized an arms shipment that included 400 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition hidden in butter crates from an Ecuadorean company. Authorities claimed the shipment had entered Colombia across the Ecuadorean border.
Ecuador is not the only source of small arms for Colombia’s criminal groups. Last month, Colombian police intercepted a shipment of firearms en route to the Rastrojos gang just miles from the Venezuelan border. The weapons had Venezuelan military markings.
These criminal groups get some of their supplies from within Colombia. An army officer in the northeastern city of Arauca was recently arrested while transporting arms and military uniforms that were allegedly intended for the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group.