Colombia, Ecuador bust drug ring exporting five tonnes of cocaine a month

Bolivia announced a record nine-tonne haul of the drug two days earlier

Colombia and Ecuador broke up a criminal organization responsible for sending up to five tons of cocaine per month to the U.S. and Europe and captured the Colombian brothers in charge, the two countries said on Sunday.

The bust came just two days after Bolivia announced a record cocaine haul weighing in at nearly nine tonnes.

Colombian police said the Los Curva criminal organization generated more than US$2 billion a year in profits from the trade.

A year-long police operation culminated on Saturday with the capture of Colombian brothers Hader and Dairon Cuero, leaders of Los Curva, Colombian and Ecuadorian authorities said.

Hader Cuero is wanted by the United States on drug trafficking charges.

Colombia is considered the world’s leading producer of cocaine, an illegal business that finances leftist guerrilla groups and criminal gangs.

“This operation stops the shipment of five tons of cocaine per month,” said the deputy director of the Colombian National Police, General Nicolas Zapata, at a joint press conference streamed online on Sunday.

The national director of anti-drug investigations of the Ecuadorian police, General William Villarroel, added that the organization used speed boats and Mexico-flagged vessels to transport the drugs to Mexico on maritime routes.

Los Curva worked with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel and cartels in Europe’s Balkan region, the police said.

Last year, six Colombians and 22 Ecuadorians were captured as part of the police operation.

Record cocaine haul in Bolivia

Bolivia announced a record cocaine seizure from the western department of Oruro department, officials said on Friday, giving the drugs a local street value of US$224 million but nearly double that in Europe, where the illicit cargo was likely headed.

In a social media post, Bolivian President Luis Arce described the bust, of roughly 8.8 metric tonnes, as the largest ever recorded in the country. He added the drugs were hidden in wooden flooring materials found in a truck, and were likely destined to the Netherlands where their value would be estimated at some US$526 million.

The operation also included the arrest of four suspected drug traffickers, stemming from nine raids, according to officials.



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