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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Colombia drug trade knows no borders - Washington Times


08:33 |

Colombia drug trade knows no borders - Washington Times: "drug traffickers are turning Ecuador into a key transit point for cocaine, largely because the Colombian government has taken greater control of its territory.
In 2009, according to U.S. State Department statistics, anti-drug police in Ecuador uncovered only seven cocaine laboratories, while drug seizures - 43.5 metric tons for the year - rose 98 percent over 2008 levels.
Complicating matters, criminal gangs that feed off the cocaine trade have brought instability and insecurity to peasants living in this remote area of muddy rivers, swamps and impenetrable vegetation. A U.N. report has described the provinces of northern Ecuador as a place of mass killings and insecurity.
'Ecuador is really a victim of geography,' said Jay Bergman, Andean regional director for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). 'It is sandwiched between the two largest cocaine-source countries in the world: Peru and Colombia.'
The U.S. government spent nearly $8 million in 2009 to train and equip Ecuadorean police, military and judiciary members to fight criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking, said Wes Carrington, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador. An additional $1.7 million was spent to aid the Ecuadorean National Police and to share information to fight drug-trafficking networks."


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