August 29, 2005

Ecuador makes drug bust at sea, biggest in decade

QUITO, Ecuador (Reuters) - Ecuadorean police and the U.S.
Coast Guard have intercepted a boat carrying approximately $175
million worth of U.S.-bound Colombian cocaine in the Pacific
Ocean in Ecuador's biggest drug bust in a decade, police said
on Monday.

The fishing boat "Daniel" was stopped 230 miles south of
the Galapagos Islands and its crew of eight Ecuadoreans
arrested, police said, without saying exactly when the
operation took place.

The fishing boat had been loaded with seven tonnes of
cocaine supplied by fast launches off the Colombian coast and
was sailing to a rendezvous with a ship which would carry the
drugs to the United States.

Ecuador is a major transit country for cocaine from
Colombia, where illegal armed groups fighting in a
four-decade-old war rely on selling the drug to buy weapons.