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A US Coast Guard intercepted the vessel, which carried 23 people on board, and handed it to personnel of the Ecuadorian Navy. The Guayas Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that Erika Fernanda, who was detained on the high seas by the US military and was transferred to Ecuador on the afternoon of Monday, May 13, was found to have found more than half a ton of drugs.
In total, 680 kilos of cocaine were transported by the boat. The judicial body investigates the shipment of the cache , which left the Ecuadorian coast bound for countries of Central and North America. The fishing boat, with 23 people on board, was intercepted on April 20 by the United States Navy Coast Guard Hamilton , 755 miles from Galápagos, in international waters , near Guatemala and Mexico. In the Ecuadorian ship seized weapons, such as AK47 rifles, as well as communication equipment and outboard motors.
The detainees along with the evidence were handed over to the Ecuadorian Coast Guard boats Isla Seymour and Isla Marchena , which took them to the port of Manta. Here they were handed over to the judicial and police authorities of Ecuador. The prosecutor of the Transnational and International Organized Crime Unit of Guayas , María Dolores Coloma , said that an investigation has been under way since February 2018.
The intelligence work points to a narco-criminal organization that sends drugs in speedboats accompanied by small boats, which assist them with fuel. The boats depart from various points of the Ecuadorian coast towards Central America , from where the drug is transferred to Mexico and the United States. This modality has already been detected in previous shipments. The objective is that the boat with the stash can navigate more distance. In a statement, the prosecution said nine raids were carried out in the cities of Manta and Jaramijó (in Manabi), and Quito (Pichincha).
The actions will be extended to other cities, in the course of this day. The hearing to formulate charges against the 23 detainees will be installed in the next few hours, in the Judicial Unit of Manta. The Office of the Prosecutor will prosecute them for organized crime, an offense established in article 369 of the Organic Criminal Code (COIP) and which punishes them with a penalty of deprivation of liberty, from five to seven years.
Source: el telegrafo