Latin America

US to Dispatch Troops to Clamp Down on Ecuador’s Drug Trafficking Spike

U.S. Army Soldier silhouette on mission in Iraq

QUITO (Sputnik) – Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Gustavo Manrique Miranda said Tuesday that US forces would be authorized to carry out military operations in the country’s territory and waters in order to combat illegal fishing, human and drug trafficking and fuel smuggling. “It is not that the [the US] will be deploying their troops, but that they will go in for short periods of time, carry out operations and leave,” the minister said at a news conference in Quito, commenting on the agreements signed by President Guillermo Lasso during his recent visit to the US.”The Ecuadorian authorities will also be deployed on foreign ships so that the sovereignty is not lost and make sure that it is our authorities who make key decisions regarding operations.”The minister added that another agreement signed provides a legal basis for the movement of US officials and troops through the territory of Ecuador. WorldSpanish Police Seize Record 9.5 Tonnes of Cocaine Coming From Ecuador25 August, 13:54 GMTAmerican and Ecuadorian authorities earlier said the agreements signed during Lasso’s visit are aimed at strengthening cooperation in the fight against illegal fishing and drug trafficking. The Ecuadorian president has said these operations would be carried out against suspicious vessels or vessels that were stateless or considered stateless.Adam Isacson, who heads the defense oversight in regards to Latin America matters, explained to US media that officials were looking to “reestablish” a headquarters of sorts at Manta base, which the US pulled its forces from in 2009.

The US military was ordered by the Foreign Ministry to cease its use of the Manta base for anti-drug flights as its 10-year lease expired in 2009 and the Correa government was not set on renewing the contract.

At the time, roughly 300 US soldiers were said to be stationed at the base. Although Ecuador is not considered a major drug trafficking state in the Americas, it is often used as a transit country by smugglers.

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