QUITO – Ecuadorian police seized 2.2 tons of cocaine that was intended for shipment to the United States in sacks of zeolite, a porous mineral used as an absorbent in the agricultural and petrochemical sectors, the Interior Ministry reported Tuesday.
Deputy Interior Minister Diego Fuentes said in remarks broadcast by Ecuavisa television that five suspects were arrested in the operation, including four employees and the legal representative of a company that is under investigation by Ecuadorian authorities.
In addition, according to initial reports, the planned destination for the drug was the United States, although the boat on which it was to be shipped was due to make stops in Guatemala and Mexico.
The coke was found in a cargo of 1,600 sacks of zeolite, 82 of which had been wholly or partially filled with it.
According to Fuentes, the investigation lasted four months and it is presumed that the company involved alternated regular shipments of zeolite with others in which cocaine was added to the cargo.
“This was the biggest shipment,” said the official.
So far this year, Ecuadorian police have seized 32 tons of drugs, 25 tons of which were earmarked for international distribution and 7 tons of which were for internal consumption, Ecuavisa said.