Ecuadorean Bus Crash Linked to Drug Trafficking

Colombian and Ecuadorean authorities have confirmed the bus that crashed Tuesday leaving 24 dead was carrying cocaine.  

At least 80 kilos of cocaine were found in the Colombian bus that crashed near Papallacta, Ecuador, police authorities announced Thursday.

RELATED: New Details on Bus Crash in Ecuador Creates Mystery

“There are 80 so far, but we haven’t finished counting. It is not the first time they have used tourist buses to smuggle drugs through the border,” a source in Colombia’s Office of the Attorney General told AFP.

The accident occurred Tuesday at 2:55 a.m. and caused 24 deaths and 14 injuries. The case appeared to be a simple transit incident, but the story became progressively strange as authorities realized most of the travelers didn’t have identification, and later learned they were participating in a free trip that covered transport, food, and lodging.   

Police investigations determined the 38 victims were used as drug mules without their knowledge.

Ecuadorean authorities have said they are not surprised by the discovery. This year over two tons of cocaine has been smuggled in international tour buses transporting “beneficiaries” of free trips.

Security forces in both Ecuador and Colombia are collaborating on the investigation to determine the causes of the accident and identify those responsible for the cargo.

Relatives and friends of the victims, most of who come from El Guabal neighborhood, in the city of Cali, claim the free trip was offered by a woman who lives in the community.

So far her identity has not been revealed, but authorities have been told she is a nurse. She was also on the bus during the accident and suffered severe injuries.   

This new mode of trafficking has been witnessed since early 2017 when half a ton of illicit substances were seized in the northern Ecuadorean city of Tulcan.

  • Published in World

Venezuela Dismantled Drug Trafficking Network

Caracas, Jul 12 (Prensa Latina) As part of a continued campaign against drug-trafficking Venezuela's Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, reported the seizure of 82 kgs of cocaine in five shipments made through the MRW parcel company, bound to the Netherlands and Ivory Coast.

The head of the Public Prosecutor's Office explained that from June 20 to 22 officers of the Anti-drug Command of the Bolivarian National Guard detected five shipments of furniture and paintings in which they found several packages with the illegal substance.

He said that four of these shipments had originated in the state of Tachira and one from Anzoategui, and were discovered at the headquarters of MRW in Caracas.

At a press conference Saab added that for sending these parcels the traffickers used false identities, although the prosecution managed to identify the head of the criminal organization as Edgar Vitelio Bermudez, against whom an arrest warrant was issued.

The Public Prosecutor's Office, along with other State security forces, proceeded to raid the MRW offices in the towns of La Fria (Tachira) and Lecherias (Anzoategui), as well as Bermudez' properties.

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Cuba Seized over 5.5 Tons of Drugs in 2017

Havana, Jun 26 (Prensa Latina) Cuba seized more than 5.5 tons of narcotics in 2017, most of them occupied at sea during landfalls, today reported the Secretary of the National Drug Commission (CND), Antonio Israel Ybarra.

In a press conference, Ybarra explained that 95 percent of the drugs were confiscated by sea, in marijuana and cocaine packages that landed on the shores of the island after being launched into the Caribbean Sea by drug traffickers, sometimes to avoid controls and others to be collected later by consumer countries.

According to the official, Cuba is neither a transit country nor a destination for drugs and consumption is very low.

According to a prevalence survey conducted two years ago, the use of narcotics is 0.038 percent.

Ybarra specified that last year, 48 Cubans and foreigners were prosecuted for the crime of drug trafficking, while in airports the national authorities seized 57.4 kilograms of narcotics in 94 incidents.

Also, in the same period, 67,000 marijuana plants were occupied as part of Cuba's political will to fight drugs, the expert added.

Our backbone to face this scourge is prevention, which is closely related to people's education in order to foster a culture of rejection of these substances, Ybarra said.

It also ratified Cuba's policy of zero tolerance for drugs and the prevalence in the country of comprehensive strategies aimed at achieving a balance between preventive and confrontational actions.

  • Published in Cuba
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