Cops Just Seized Nearly 9 Tons of Cocaine Hidden in Bananas

The massive seizure in the port of Guayaquil, Ecuador was found in a single shipping container of bananas.
9 tons of cocaine laid out by the authorities in Guayaquil, Ecuador after it was discovered in a single shipping container this weekend. Photo: Ecuadoran government.

Almost nine tons of cocaine hidden in a single shipping container was seized by police in Ecuador. Concealed in a shipment of bananas, the drugs were headed for Belgium from the port terminal of Guayaquil - a major transit hub for the cocaine trade.

National Police Chief General Fausto Salinas said the drugs were worth $330 million in Europe.  


The seizure underscores Ecuador’s growing importance in the global drug-trafficking business, in which it has grown to be a key transit hub in the last decade. Cocaine produced in the South American nations of Colombia, Bolivia and Peru often pass through the massive port in Guayaquil en route to Europe and the U.S. 

In 2021, authorities seized more than 200 tons of drugs, nearly double that of the previous year, according to Ecuadorian police. During 2020, Ecuador seized the third largest volume of drugs in the world, behind Colombia and the United States, according to the United Nation’s 2022 World Drug Report.

So much cocaine is being seized that Ecuadorian authorities are turning it into concrete by combining it with cement, sand and water, supported by the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime. The government can’t burn enough seized cocaine fast enough and the method has given authorities a way to dispose of large amounts of cocaine in a matter of days.

Ecuador has blamed Mexican drug cartels for a spike in violence that has accompanied a growth in drug seizures. The incursion by both the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel into Ecuador has fueled an increasingly bloody and aggressive drug war that resembles violence seen during the worst days of the Mexican drug war.

Decapitated heads found in the streets and bodies left hanging from bridges are an increasingly common occurrence in Ecuador, which only a few years ago was one of Latin America’s most peaceful countries. As local gangs team up with Mexico cartels to win control of the drug market, murder rates have soared and a record number of Ecuadorians are trying to migrate to the U.S.