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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

22 Tons of Cocaine Seized from Banana Plantation in Ecuador

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

Never before had Ecuador seized as many drugs in a single place as it did on January 25, 2024, when it found a hidden stash buried in a pig farm on a banana plantation in Estero Lagarto, an area in the coastal province of Los Ríos, about 155 miles from Quito. 

In 733 jute bags, 22 tons of cocaine hydrochloride were stored, perfectly packaged in the shape of a brick, and labeled with the airlines they were destined to go to including Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa, Qatar, AB, and JET2. 

“There are 6 different logos that make it clear what the destinations were,” said César Zapata, police commander.

Ecuador’s Armed Forces began the operation that Sunday morning and ended at dusk. Around 150 troops took part. The operation — intended to be a blow to drug trafficking — led to an unprecedented discovery.

Pig Stye Search

The pig farm was a spot to store drugs and weapons. Army personnel described it as “a whitewashed warehouse with the façade of a pork center.” Estero Lagarto is a rural area well hidden in the middle of mountains and extensive agricultural lands that can only be accessed by a narrow dirt road. Only one person who was guarding the farm was arrested during the operation. Security forces have called on the justice system to act quickly to destroy the 22 tons of drugs, which required a military truck for transportation.

According to municipal records, the owner of the 3,000 square meter farm where tons of cocaine was seized is Edgar 'MP', who also owns 13 more hectares in the rural area of ​​Vinces.

Initially, a dozen soldiers had the location where nearly 10 tons of drugs were buried; they dug 4 meters underground for hours to remove the packages of cocaine, valued at $1 billion on the international market.

The soldiers’ search also took them to a sewer duct, which led to an underground labyrinth, where another 12 tons of cocaine hydrochloride were located. The discovery reinforces the investigation of the army, which believes that Ecuador is not only a transit country for drugs but also home to drug processing laboratories. The soldiers also discovered 12 rifles and more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition stashed on the property.

According to authorities, the operation's success resulted from 6 months of investigation, through observation and surveillance by the military intelligence unit. However, authorities have still not determined the owner of the property. “We are working to find out who it belongs to,” added Zapata, who explained that the drugs were to be transported in boats to cargo ships leaving the ports and then be sent to the United States, Central America, Europe, and Asia.

5 Killed in Massacre

The drug seizures took place in Vinces, in the Estero Lagarto sector. In the same city, 5 people died and 7 others were injured, after a massacre in Vinces, Los Ríos. The victims were at a meeting when they were attacked. The dead were identified as Miguel Pita Vera, Manuel Andrade Ramos, Carlos Ricaurte, Luis Intriago Bustamante, and a woman of Venezuelan nationality. Vinces is claimed to be the territory of the Los Lobos gang, allied with the CJNG.

The shootings occurred around 8:00 p.m. on January 27, 2024, a week after the largest drug seizure in Ecuador's history. According to reports from neighbors, armed men arrived at the site aboard two trucks and began shooting at everyone at the house on Walter Andrade. The attackers escaped, shooting into the air. The seven injured were taken to a nearby hospital and their condition is unknown.

"El Alacrán" Jr. Captured

A photograph, taken in a luxury residence in Guayaquil, was the tool of the Colombian and Ecuadorian police to capture Henry Loaiza Montoya, "El Alacrán," a powerful leader of the Valle Cartel, who lived in the country. His arrest occurred on February 1, in Ecuador, and the next day 'El Alacrán' was deported to Colombia, where he was wanted for several processes. In addition, the Colombian drug trafficker has a pending extradition request to the United States for the crime of drug trafficking.

'El Alacrán', also known as alias 'Junior' because he inherited his father's coca businesses, had undergone 7 plastic surgeries to change his face. But he still had several of his tattoos, which were key to stopping him. Precisely, thanks to the tattoo he had on his hand, the agents managed to identify him and locate him in Guayaquil.

For months, Colombia has been tracking Loiza Montoya, who has ties to the La Inmaculada criminal gang in Valle del Cauca, responsible for extortion and homicides.

He has also been related to the dissident group called the Oliver Sinisterra Front, which provided him with drugs and security. He had previously worked with remnants of the Norte del Valle Cartel as his father Henry Loaiza Ceballos, also known as 'El Alacrán', was once the leader.

Since Saturday night, 'El Alacrán' has been held in a Bogotá prison, while the procedures are being carried out to be extradited to the United States.

Extradition of Ecuadorian Kingpin

Wilder Emilio Sánchez Farfán, a man known as "El Gato" who was accused of having ties to both the CJNG and Sinaloa Cartels was extradited from Colombia to the United States on January 25. He was captured by Ecuadorian authorities in February of last year.

El Gato, at the time, was identified as one of the most relevant criminals in the world given his ability to transport large quantities of cocaine from Ecuador to the US by land, air, and sea. He also worked with Albanian figures to transport cocaine into Europe via Spain.

On October 30, 2019, a federal grand jury in the Southern District of California returned an indictment charging Sanchez Farfan with participating in a transnational conspiracy to traffic substantial quantities of cocaine from Colombia, through Ecuador, and into the United States. Sanchez Farfan’s organization is alleged to have been a major source of supply for the Sinaloa Cartel and the New Generation Jalisco Cartel in Mexico.

In February 2022, Sánchez Farfán was sanctioned along with the Mexican Miguel Ángel Valdez Ruiz, who served as a link between the Ecuadorian boss and "El Mayo."

“Valdez Ruiz, a Mexican national, is a drug trafficker from Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, who imports cocaine from Ecuador and is supplied and works directly with Sánchez Farfán. Valdez Ruiz serves as an intermediary between Sánchez Farfán and Ismael Zambada García, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.”

But reports from US authorities also mention that El Gato Farfán was also involved with the CJNG, he would have sent representatives of his organization to Mexico. His organization became known as the Nueva Generación Ecuador cartel.

“In addition, Sánchez Farfán sent representatives of his organization to Mexico to meet with members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) to establish a working relationship to import multi-ton quantities of cocaine into Mexico from Ecuador.”

Sanchez Farfan was apprehended by Colombian authorities at the request of the United States in February 2023 while traveling in Colombia. An Albanian passport was found at his home. A citizen of Albanian nationality was also arrested there in Guayas. $319,000, satellite phones and GPS devices were also seized.

Minister of the Interior of Ecuador, Juan Zapata, claimed that "El Gato" is responsible for some of the massacres that took place in prisons in Ecuador in recent years, which have left more than 450 prisoners dead since 2020.


  1. Which dumbass killed the presidential candidate that brought all this heat to Ecuador?

  2. The deal about the airline logos just doesn't ring true..
    🍌 are NOT transported by air, simply not cost effective..
    Trucked to the nearest port, then a lazy banana boat ride up the coast..

    1. I believe the original article was referring to destination countries possibly noted by the airlines, not that they were to travel via plane. It states later they were bound for cargo ships.

    2. Point taken..
      Good article!

    3. Transported by air doesnt meant by air to the US, think of the small planes transporting flying all around in south and central america.
      Btw, the real lizard should know this ;)

  3. Puro jale de la firma 4 letters

    1. No actually Mexican cartels are getting middled by Ecuadorians

  4. Nice catch, hitting a stash house with that amount of coce. If their money pooling also covers these kind of looses?
    Good work socalj.

  5. Yummy 😋 yummy 🤤

  6. Strange anytime there is a big crackdown they find huge amount of drugs. Surprise surprise. Same think happens on colombia. Maybe someone knows in the government where these things are all the time hmmmm

  7. One dumbass Ecuadorian lady who uses god to save everything, she believes whatever trump says. Yes, she’s one of the dumbass brainwash MAGAots - let’s see if her god save her country.

    1. Uhhh ok?? Thanks you for your brilliant input to this thread

    2. 5:56 you’re very welcome: lots of brainwashed religious idiots out there, and are you one of them?

  8. Ecuador is getting bad with a lot of violence.
    There's a website out there . One of the many videos I have seen, was two female teenager's, sitting down at front porch web surfing on their cell phones. A male shows up with a gun , demands the phones, one girl is not giving it, shoots her on the stomach. The video did not have captions of she died.

  9. Police Comandante César Zapata is quoted as saying that Ecuador's bananas, of which about 6.6 Million Metric Tons are produced annually, are shipped to among other places, Asia..
    That's a 10,000 mile voyage to venues like China, which produces 12 MMT of its own 'nanas each year, and India, the world's biggest producer, boasting a whopper of a crop, 30 MMT..
    Seems like somebody's trying to sell snow to the Eskimos, asian aduana better stay on their toes!

  10. The american DEA will confiscate half of this load and redistribute it back to cartels in mexico for delivery up north


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