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Cablegate: Nas Ecuador Quarterly Activities Report - October-December

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #1163/01 3571237
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221237Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9790
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 0281
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 7892
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 4058
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 0794
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3317
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ DEC LIMA 2957
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3992

UNCLAS QUITO 001163

STATE FOR INL/LP
STATE FOR WHA/PPC
ONDCP FOR OCONNOR

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR EC
SUBJECT: NAS ECUADOR QUARTERLY ACTIVITIES REPORT - OCTOBER-DECEMBER

1. (U) HIGHLIGHTS:

-- Ambassador Inaugurates Two Canine Facilities

-- NAS Judicial Team Helps Shape New Laws

-- Large Maritime and Land Seizures

-- New Equipment to Modernize Detection Capabilities

-- Coca Plants Eradicated

-- NAS Ecuador Desk Officer Visits

AMBASSADOR INAUGURATES TWO CANINE FACILITIES

2. (U) In late October, the Ambassador inaugurated a new building at
the Narcotics Police National Canine Training Center in Quito. NAS
built the original facility in 2001 and has upgraded the facility
over the years to accommodate growth of the canine program. The new
building, which cost USD 450k, includes veterinarian facilities,
office space and dormitories to house the approximately 40 guides in
residence at the training center. This was the first NAS facility
inaugurated by the Ambassador since her arrival in Ecuador in August
and it generated good national press coverage.

3. (U) In the third week of November, the Ambassador inaugurated
another canine program project, a new building and refurbished areas
of the Narcotics Police Guayaquil Airport Facility. The new
building includes office space and dormitories for male and female
guides residing at the facility. Refurbished areas included an
expansion of kennels from 18 to 36 and upgrades to the veterinarian
facilities. Costs for the project totaled USD 600k. As part of the
ceremony, the Ambassador presented one of the guides and his dog an
award for a recent 96 kilo cocaine bust. A week later, dogs from
the unit alerted to 126 kilos of cocaine on a KLM flight departing
to Amsterdam. Apparently they like their new home!

NAS ASSISTANCE TO LEGAL REFORMS

4. (U) Following the September national referendum approving a new
Constitution, the NAS justice program has been staying involved and
providing technical assistance to government entities grappling with
implementation of the new Constitution. The Constitution calls for
sweeping changes in the structure of the judicial branch and the
powers of these new entities. With its excellent contacts in the
judicial sector and the technical assistance available to it through
an existing grant with the American Bar Association, the NAS justice
team is providing assistance to councils created by the GOE to
reform the criminal procedures code, the money laundering law and
the anti-narcotics law. Each of these laws has well known
deficiencies that NAS has been working to change for years, and the
implementation of the new Constitution provides an opportunity to
make these changes a reality. The restructuring of the judiciary
and uncertainty regarding the processing of criminal and other cases
creates an additional challenge but we are pleased to be providing
information and technical assistance when appropriate to positively
influence the outcome.
LARGE MARITIME AND LAND SEIZURES

5. (U) In late October, after boarding a suspicious Ecuadorian
fishing vessel approximately 300 miles off the coast of Ecuador and
finding only traces of cocaine, a U.S. asset interdicted two smaller
boats that had earlier been attached to the larger vessel but were
now in open water. These smaller boats, the Dorado and Albacora,
had a total of 1.48 metric tons of cocaine concealed in compartments
near their sterns. A search for three other smaller boats that were
earlier also attached to the larger vessel was unsuccessful. It is
believed that the original load on the larger vessel was probably
4-6 metric tons, which was broken down and dispersed on the smaller
boats when the U.S. asset approached. The incident may indicate at
least one of the methods traffickers are using to avoid the
multi-ton seizures that were occurring in 2005-2006 but which have
fallen off significantly since.

6. (U) In September, Ecuadorian Naval Infantry (Marines) forces
stationed at the facility where NAS completed a pier last year were
patrolling the estuaries in Esmeraldas province near the Colombian
border when they encountered an Ecuadorian and two Colombians at a
remote dwelling. Upon inspection, the forces found 3.8 metric tons
of cocaine wrapped in plastic bales, possibly in preparation for the
loading of a Self-Propelled Semi-Submersible watercraft.

NEW EQUIPMENT TO MODERNIZE DETECTION CAPABILITIES

7. (U) In November, NAS received 11 infrared spectrometers (6
IdentifierIR and 5 HazmatIDs) to enhance the narcotics detection
capabilities of the narcotics police. Until these purchases, the
police relied on ion scanners in the field and gas chromatographers
in the police laboratory to determine if substances contained
illegal narcotics. With these new pieces of equipment in strategic
field locations and in police laboratories in Quito and Guayaquil,
substance testing will be simpler, faster and more accurate.

8. (U) Also in November, NAS received two backscatter vans, which
are mobile x-ray platforms capable of "looking into" vehicles and
containers that pass beside the vans. The narcotics police have
assigned teams to protect and operate the units, periodically moving
them among strategic locations throughout the country. This is a
new capability for the narcotics police in Ecuador and we expect
that it will provide excellent results.

COCA PLANTS ERADICATED

9. (U) In November, the Special Mobile Antinarcotics Police (GEMA)
found and manually eradicated 40,000 coca plants in the Esmeraldas
Province near the Colombian border.

DESK OFFICER VISIT

10. (U) INL/LP's Ecuador Desk Officer, Tamara Crouse, visited
Ecuador the third week in November for an orientation with NAS
programs in the country. She travelled with NAS staff to Guayaquil,
Manta, Tulcan and Quito and met with Embassy staff and host country
counterparts to learn about projects within each of our three areas
of emphasis; police, military and judicial programs. Key issues
included the possibility of providing assistance to the GOE in the
area of prison reform and the development of a polygraph capability
in the Narcotics Police. HODGES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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