1. Ecuador $0.127 Billion ($127 Million)

  2. Black Market Crime in Ecuador

Ecuador Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Ecuador’s black market. Intelligence and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public data sources.

A study conducted by the Mexican House of Representatives reported on the top countries in Latin American where money laundering cases occurs.

The countries and the amount of money laundered is as follows:

Brazil: $2.9 Trillion (5 percent of GDP).

Mexico: $1.1 Trillion (3.6 percent of GDP).

Chile: $268.27 Billion (4 percent of GDP).

Peru: $200 Billion (4 percent of GDP).

Ecuador: $70 Billion (4 percent of GDP).

According to an anti-money laundering expert with Grant Thornton, money launderers follow a three steps process of placement, stratification and integration.

The first step of how money launders move their funds is by placing numerous small amounts into different financial institution. Then, the funds are deposited into various accounts around the world in order to move the money further away from its original source. The final step of the laundering process is to use those funds to purchase legal assets, such as real estate.

(More cases of money laundering.)

Source:  Sergio Ramos, “Money laundering by organized crime affects regional economy,” Infosurhoy, February 11, 2014.

According to security services in Colombia, between 10 to 15 percent of the fuel used by drivers in Colombia was smuggled into the country.

Roughly one million gallons of gasoline is smuggled into the country each day, with 70 to 80 percent of the fuel coming from Venezuela. The remaining gas is smuggled into Colombia from Ecuador.

In Venezuela, a gallon of gasoline costs about 1 cent when using the black market exchange rate.

Source:  Matthew Bristow and Andrew Willis, “Cocaine for Venezuela Fuel Tankers Irks Colombia Tax Boss,” Bloomberg, December 2, 2013.

The director of the Tax and Customs enforcement agency in Colombia stated that the profit margin for criminals selling counterfeit drugs is between 500 to 1,000 percent. For example, a fake Viagra pill that costs $1 to manufacture can be sold for $5 to $10.

Intelligence analysts state that cost of the counterfeit drugs being sold in Colombia was manufactured in Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

From 2012 to the middle of 2013, the various agencies of the criminal justice system in Colombia seized over 5 million fake and contraband drugs. These medicines included drugs past its expiration date, drugs that were falsely labeled, and other drugs filled with flour or cement.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that 30 percent of the drugs sold across Latin America are counterfeits.

Source:  Natalie Southwick, “Colombia Pharmaceutical Trafficking ‘Has 1,000% Profits Margins’,” Insight Crime, October 28, 2013.


Security forces in Ecuador seized and destroyed 4.6 tons of marijuana in 2011.

In 2012, anti-narcotics agencies seized and destroyed nearly 10.7 tons of marijuana.

Source:  James Bargent, “Marijuana Production Spreading Throughout Ecuador,” Insight Crime, June 5, 2013.

In 2008, security services in Ecuador seized $545,000 in bulk cash that was illegally being smuggled across its borders. In 2012, authorities seized $1.9 Million and €215,000.

During the time period of 2008 to 2012, a total of $10 Million in US dollars and 215,000 Euros ($5 Million) was seized.  90 percent of the cash was seized at airports, where 79 people were also arrested for cash smuggling.

During the 4 years, authorities in Ecuador opened 70 criminal cases that resulted in 6 convictions.

Source:  James Bargent, “Ecuador Bulk Cash Smuggling Reflects New Laundering Trend,” Insight Crime, April 11, 2013.

(Examples of money laundering activities around the world.)

One-quarter of all cocaine that is produced in Colombia and Peru is smuggled through Ecuador to reach the United States.

The amount of cocaine that travels through Ecuador is estimated to be 200 tons.

(Additional cocaine facts and information.)

Source: Chris Kraul, “Drug trafficking on the rise through Ecuador,” Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2011.

Due to the counterfeiting and pirating of movies and music in Ecuador, disc manufacturers have lost 95 percent of their market share in the country.

Source: Patrick Corcoran, “Ecuador Port Sees Piracy Boom,” InSight, June 21, 2011.

According to US Military Officials, a drug smuggling submarine built in the jungles of Colombia or Ecuador costs $3 to $4 Million to build. The submarine can then transport between $70 to $80 Million worth of drugs in a single voyage.

Source: Anna Mulrine, “Pentagon: Central America ‘deadliest’ non-war zone in the world,” Christian Science Monitor, April 11, 2011.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) identified 6 countries that engage in illegal fishing. Colombia, Ecuador, Italy, Panama, Portugal and Venezuela were all found to be committing unauthorized activities when it comes to fishing. Illegal fishing activities included fishing during closed sessions, using illegal driftnet, and fishing without proper authorization.

Source: Morgan Erikson-Davis, “Italy and Panama continue illegal fishing, says new report,” Mongabay.com, January 15, 2011.

An estimated 200 tons of cocaine is moved through Ecuador each year, with 60 percent going to the United States and the rest heading to Europe.

Source:  “2010 International Narcotics Control Strategy: Ecuador,” United States Department of State, March 1, 2010.