Peru, as well as Mexico. Highlighting the importance of such alliances, Cordova says, "If we claimed or believed that we could carry out an effective fight against drug trafficking alone, we would be wrong."
InSight Crime AnalysisThe presence of Colombian and Mexican organized crime in Ecuador has long been reported, however such an admission from a high level government official like Cordova is unusual.
In recent years, the Rastrojos have been considered the dominant underworld force in the country, however their preeminence seems to have slipped, with recent major drug hauls linked to Colombian rivals the Urabeños. Meanwhile, the Sinaloa Cartel's growing involvement has been underscored by the recent captures of a key operative and a former army captain accused of working with the Mexicans.
While the Rastrojos are now generally perceived to be in terminal decline as an organization with national reach, the arrest in August in Ecuador of one of the group's key regional leaders demonstrated their continued activity in the country. According to a security services source consulted by InSight Crime in Colombia's third-largest city Cali, a traditional stronghold for the group, "there is no visible head of the Rastrojos, but drugs are still being moved by Rastrojos elements."
Despite Cordova's assurances that Ecuador has so far not become a site of drug production or processing, opium poppy crops have previously been discovered in the country, while there have been numerous discoveries of small scale coca cultivation near the Colombian border likely linked to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which maintain a strong presence on both sides of the border.