Ecuador is a major transit country for drugs and precursor chemicals. Despite sharing porous borders and a contiguous seacoast with two of the world’s largest narcotics producers, Colombia and Peru, illicit crops are not cultivated to any significant degree in Ecuador. The large-scale armed conflict in Colombia complicates drug interdiction on Ecuador’s northern border. Most drugs leave Ecuador by sea. In addition, there are drug flow pressures from the southern border with Peru. These factors, coupled with the ‘balloon effect’ of drug eradication and interdiction programs in neighboring Colombia, place increased drug trade pressures on Ecuador from its northern and southern borders, and add to proximate maritime illicit drug flows.
U.S. Counternarcotics Goals
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) supports Ecuador's Directorate of Antinarcotics Police (DNA) and security forces with projects to strengthen their presence at strategic locations throughout the country – including – the borders with Colombia and Peru, and at international airports in Quito and Guayaquil, as well at the ports of Guayaquil and Manta. Counternarcotics assistance is provided to improve the professional capabilities, equipment, and integrity of Ecuador’s police, military, and judicial agencies; enabling them to effectively combat criminal organizations involved in narcotics trafficking and money laundering. USG supported programs also address increased awareness of the dangers of drug abuse. The U.S. provides support to Ecuador’s military to facilitate mobility and communications along the northern border; an area of otherwise limited DNA presence.
USAID has been working intensively with Ecuador to support alternative, licit production options that will create a barrier along the vulnerable northern border with Colombia.