Monday, September 4, 2023

Ecuador undone as drug cartels exploit banana industry to ship cocaine

' Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas, shipping 6.5m metric tons a year. It is also an international shipment point for the world’s largest cocaine producers, Peru and Colombia. Violence has spread across Ecuador. Shootings, killings, kidnappings and extortions occur daily, particularly in the banana-shipping hub of Guayaquil. Cartels from Mexico, Colombia and the Balkans like Ecuador because it uses the U.S. dollar, has weak laws, and has gangs like Los Choneros eager for work.
4,570 kg of cocaine seized in the Port of Guayaquil, on October 16, 2021.
A record 2,304 metric tons of cocaine was produced in 2021 around the world, most in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. That year, nearly a third of the cocaine seized in Western and Central Europe came from Ecuador. Large drug busts have become more frequent. Within the past month, cops have made record-setting busts after inspecting containers carrying bananas from Ecuador. On Aug. 25 Spain announced its biggest cocaine haul ever: 9.5 metric tons hidden among boxes of bananas from Ecuador in a refrigerated container. Dutch cops made their country’s largest-ever cocaine seizure last month — nearly 8 metric tons in a container of Ecuadorian bananas. Authorities in Greece and Italy also announced large seizures of cocaine hidden in Ecuadorian bananas this year.
In 2022 exports were down to 354.6 million boxes of bananas, compared to 379.54 million boxes in 2021. The top three export markets are the European Union 26.35%, Russia with 23.43% and the Middle East with 15.28%.
See ----->8,000 kg cocaine seizure at Port of Rotterdam
See ----->Spanish police seize 9.5 tons of cocaine