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Although the route is more extensive to arrive, by sea, to international destinations, the criminal organizations use it to avoid the controls of the coastguards of Ecuador and foreign naval authorities.
On Saturday, May 4 of this year, a ton and a half of substances subject to control were seized in international waters. This was the result of three anti-drug operations, coordinated by the United States Coast Guard with the intervention of Ecuadorian coastguard personnel and speedboats. In 2018, nine vessels loaded with cocaine were seized by the Navy’s Coast Guard, which has planned its patrolling in the territorial sea with international aid. According to the captain of Fragata, Jorge Durán, who is also director of Maritime Operations of the Navy, the maritime spaces of Ecuador have approximately 1,111,818 square kilometers, 5.38 more than the terrestrial one.
This maritime space includes the internal waters, the territorial sea, which reaches 12 nautical miles; the contiguous zone and the exclusive economic zone, which are defined in the United Nations Convention on the right to the sea , explained Durán. Naval control “We patrolled this vast maritime territory with the Coast Guard Command , the port captaincies and the Naval Operations Command. We all collaborate in the protection of these areas, “he said. In addition, the Navy combats or neutralizes transports of substances subject to control by sea.
Based on naval agreements, it applies procedures to carry out controls, with the support of other navies, on Ecuadorian vessels that are likely to transport narcotic substances in international waters, that is, outside jurisdictional waters , he said. Durán said that through the coastguard commands of Guayaquil, Jaramijó, Puerto Bolívar and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno , of the Galapagos island region , everything that happens in the maritime space is monitored . Obviously intelligence is received from other Armed and state agencies of other countries with which they have agreements, which allows them to combat the transport of drugs by sea , he said. Routes used by drug traffickers For Durán , drug trafficking organizations use the northern area and outside the exclusive economic zone of the Galapagos Islands as a transit route . But the archipelago is not a collection center or storage of drugs, he went on to mention Rear Admiral Jorge Cabrera Espinosa , national director of the Aquatic Spaces ( Dirnea ). “It is important to emphasize that the organizations use a route that goes through the south of the Galapagos.
We are talking about 200 nautical miles, that is 350 kilometers to the south, outside the waters of the exclusive economic zone of Galapagos, “he explained. For Cabrera, there are different routes, those that go directly to the continental area , “they open to the center or north of America and others that take the south of the Galapagos. INFOGRAPHY They use the last route to go to Central America or to the center of the continent. Also, to avoid the controls they have on the continent, he said. According to the National Director of Antinarcotics of the Police, General Marco Villegas Ubillús , there are multiple routes, but from the perspective of Ecuador, there is the closest route that is Tumaco, because it goes to the Pacific Ocean and follows that line to North America or Central America.
“Depending on the instrument capacity they are carrying the drug , be it submarine, sometimes they stop in Central America and continue through North America, then they go to Europe,” he said. Villegas pointed to a route that embraces the left side of the Galapagos Islands , which is much more expensive, but drug traffickers see it as permeable due to the difficulty of naval and police control. “However, as a police institution we block this type of route with international coordination, with technology in operations, which is quite effective; and with the support of the P3 plane, which at the end of the year will see the results, “he said.
The coordinations Cabrera also referred to the P3 Orion plane. It has the capacity to patrol many hours. “We also have aircraft with smaller characteristics that patrol the sea.” He explained that in the P3 they board Navy officers and at the time they carry out the patrols , with an airplane we move more along the wide sea, “they give us the early warning , the position of contact and interest , and the ship goes out to a more accurate maritime position “. That is the coordination that takes place between the different air and naval media. Coordination with the Navy is important and we do everything together to confront maritime narco trafficking , said Cabrera.
Villegas agreed with the director of the Dirnea. “We are respectful of the functions of the Navy, we rely on it in the logistical aspect, because we have information of the coordinates , and they help us with the location and location of the vessel and we intervene together and the results have been quite effective. ” He added that in all operations, regardless of any interdiction of the Navy, the Police is needed because it has the condition of detention and judicialization.
Colonel Walter Villarroel , head of the Anti – narcotics Unit of Zone 8 ( Guayaquil, Durán and Samborondón ), considered that the joint work is born from the information that the Anti-Narcotics Police has on boats or fishing boats that have sailed to international waters and that presumes transport prohibited substances.
Source: el telegrafo