(Photo: Los Hijos del Suelo)

According to Ecuador, Colombian neo-paramilitary organization “Los Rastrojos” has expanded their operations to Ecuadorean territory, reported French news agency AFP Monday.

Vice Minister of Security Javier Cordova told public television station ECTV that “Ecuador has never been a producing country” of cocaine, but admitted that drug trafficking organizations like the Rastrojos and the Mexican Sinaloa cartel “are using or trying to use it as a transit country for drug trafficking, which we are not willing to allow to happen.”

While the government official stated that the major drug cartels exist in Mexico, he explicitly mentioned Colombia’s Rastrojos as one of the expanding cartels on the territory of Ecuador.

To fight these drug trafficking networks, Cordova stressed the importance of common efforts by fellow countries which have been affected by this phenomenon.

This is why, said the vice-minister, Ecuador maintains strong ties to Mexico, Europe, Central America and the United States in terms of joint coordination and communication concerning this issue. He also indicated that these ties include the authorities of Colombia and Peru, the main producers of coca leaves.

Ecuador’s Interior Minister, Jose Serrano, on Thursday said that cocaine seizures have gone up drastically in the past four years.

While in 2010 18 tons of illicit drugs were confiscated, this grew to 26 tons in 2011, 42 in 2012 and 46 tons in the course of 2013.


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