Ecuadorean security forces seize Mexican jet with $19m cocaine

Ecuadorean security forces seize jet abandoned on airstrip that had flown in from Mexico – and find $19 million worth of cocaine inside

  • At least 400 kilos of cocaine worth $19 million were seized from a Mexican jet in the southern Ecuadorean province of Santa Elena on March 2
  • The National Police of Ecuador said in a statement that jet was found parked on a private airstrip by security forces as part of operation ‘Grand Impact 10’  
  • The shipment was comprised of 400 packages, each labeled with a logo 
  • It’s not clear what the logos referred to, and the police didn’t release details 

Ecuadorean authorities discovered a shipment of cocaine worth $19 million inside a Mexican jet that had been apparently abandoned on a private airstrip.

The cocaine was in 400 packages – each labeled with a logo, though Ecuador’s authorities didn’t detail what the logos might mean or to whom they were connected. 

Officials also didn’t identify the Ecuadorean or Mexican drug trafficking organizations who were allegedly connected to the massive shipment. 

National Anti-drug Investigation Agency agents and Air Force servicemen made the shocking finding as part of operation ‘Grand Impact 10’ on March 2 in the southern province of Santa Elena, according to a National Police of Ecuador statement.

The 400 kilos of cocaine were evenly split into 400 packages which were wrapped in plastic.

The National Police of Ecuador said that on March  2, security forces assigned to operation ‘Grand Impact 10’ found a Mexican jet with 400 kilos of cocaine worth $19 million on a private airstrip in the southern province of Santa Elena. No arrests were reported

The 400 kilos of cocaine were evenly split into 400 packages that were labeled with different logos, 

Photos distributed by the authorities had the plane’s tail number fuzzed out, so it couldn’t be independently determined who its owner was, and the authorities haven’t said.    

The cocaine bust took place just days before the Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA] released a report that identified nine Mexican cartels as being responsible for flooding the United States with drugs.

The DEA’s 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment highlighted how each of the key players exerted their influence over different parts of the United States by smuggling cocaine, marijuana, fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine.

Agents with Ecuador’s National Anti-drug Investigation Agency guard a seized shipment of cocaine that was removed from a private jet on March  2

The National Police of Ecuador said the Mexican jet was loaded with 400 kilos of cocaine, but did not identity the Ecuadorean and Mexican drug trafficking organizations who were liable for the massive shipment

The annual study showed how Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán’s Sinaloa Cartel and their rivals, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel [CJNG], were the dominant forces in funneling drugs over the Mexico-United States border last year.

The Sinaloa cartel was found to control Arizona and California area smuggling routes into the US, while the CJNG exerts control over Mexico’s port of Manzanillo.

Other key players are the Cartel del Noreste [Northeast Cartel] and Los Zetas, Guerreros Unidos [United Warriors], Juaréz Cartel and La Línea, and La Familia Michoacana.

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