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Is Ecuador prepared to counter rise in organized crime?

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The police assessment reportedly says that the main entry points for drug shipments include the cities of Macara, Tulcan, San Lorenzo, and Nueva Loja (see map, below). The primary exit points for drug shipments headed overseas are the port cities of Manta, Esmeraldas, Muisne, Puna, Rocafuerte, and Puerto Bolivar.

Drug traffickers use go-fast boats and submarines to transport their wares from the coast, then meet up with boats on the high seas who collect the cocaine loads and take them to Honduras, the document reportedly says. Other times, go-fast boats stop at the Galapagos islands to refuel and continue on to Central America.

The report adds that two major drug seizures in 2007 and 2008, part of an operation dubbed Green Hurricane, are evidence of Ecuador's increased importance as a drug transit country for transnational criminal groups. During the operation, narcotics police seized 3.78 tons of cocaine in southern Ecuador, and another 4.70 tons near the border with Colombia.

These reported negative assessments from the security forces are an indication that they believe they lack the resources to properly confront organized crime. The government recently ordered some 7,000 soldiers and 3,000 police to the northern frontier with Colombia, after President Rafael Correa said that border was "the gravest security problem facing the country."

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