Last week, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Dr. Rahul Gupta traveled to Ecuador to discuss ongoing U.S. support for Ecuador and shared efforts to disrupt global illicit drug trafficking. During his visit, Dr. Gupta met with the President of Ecuador Daniel Noboa and senior administration officials in Quito and Guayaquil to talk about their work to disrupt the supply and transfer of illicit drugs, and discuss opportunities for joint cooperation. Dr. Gupta reiterated the United States’ commitment to supporting Ecuador’s long-term security and economic development. Dr. Gupta also highlighted recent Biden-Harris Administration investments to crack down on the transnational drug trafficking organizations that sow violence in so many places around the world, including Ecuador.

“The United States is deeply committed to supporting Ecuador in its fight against transnational criminal organizations,” said ONDCP Director Dr. Rahul Gupta. “Narcotrafficking by transnational criminal organizations fuels extreme violence, destabilizes communities, and creates unprecedented security and public health challenges. We are continuing to strengthen our partnership with Ecuador and ensure they have the resources they need to promote stability and resilience across the country.”

While in Ecuador, Dr. Gupta met with Ministry of Interior officials to discuss Ecuador’s security initiatives and with the Drug Commissioner Cristina Nunez and the Ministry of Health to discuss substance use prevention and treatment strategies.

Dr. Gupta also toured the Naportec Port in Guayaquil and met with the Director General of the National Customs Service and the Head of the Anti-Narcotics Police to discuss efforts to enhance the security and efficiency of seaport operations and reduce exploitation by drug traffickers. These efforts will build confidence and encourage continued investment and participation in maritime trade, open new trade partnerships, and contribute to long-term economic prosperity. Last Friday afternoon, Dr. Gupta met with President Noboa and senior Ministers to discuss the U.S. government support for Ecuador and areas for continued collaboration. 

In response to a surge of violence in January, the Biden-Harris Administration has stepped up urgent security assistance, as well as law enforcement and intelligence cooperation. In late January, President Biden’s Special Advisor for the Americas Christopher Dodd and Commander of the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) General Laura Richardson met with President of Ecuador Daniel Noboa and other senior Ecuadorian government officials to showcase the United States’ support for the country and announce additional security and economic support.  Two weeks ago, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Todd Robinson also visited Ecuador to announce assistance, including the inauguration of the Ecuadorian Coast Guard Academy, a renovated canine veterinary clinic, a renovated office for the corruption unit within the Attorney General’s Office, and a mobile border unit to support an elite border task force. On February 7, the U.S. Department of the Treasury also announced new designations of one of Ecuador’s most violent gangs, Los Choneros, and its leader, José Adolfo Macías Villamar (also known by the alias “Fito”), pursuant to counter narcotics authorities.

Read more about the United States engagements with Ecuador HERE.


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