Hezbollah bust in Ecuador


On the same day Mexico detained and released a possible al—Qaeda in Baja California, a less noted story is Ecuador's breakup of a drug ring believed to ship 70% of its narco—profits to the monstrous Middle Eastern terrorist group Hezbollah.

It's a disturbing case because it underlines the growing activity of terrorists in Latin American countries with weak states.  Ecuador is one of the weakest. But police in Ecuador nevertheless recognized the threat and took 19 of these thugs out of circulation. Lives may have been saved, and not just some Brooklyn junkie's, missing his lethal last hit, but the lives of innocent civilians targetted by Hezbollah's suicide bombers in distant Israel and Lebanon.

Ecuador has a worthless political government but apparently its cops aren't too bad. Unlike Mexico, the police forces in some of the Andean states, like Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, are not thoroughly infiltrated by the drug mafias they are charged with apprehending. They may be inept, underpaid, unprofessional and poorly trained in varying degrees, but they are not the actual crooks.

Given Ecuador's unimpressive government, the bust is a bit of a surprise.
This year's president, Alberto Palacios, who was sworn in about a month ago after the last one was thrown out by an angry mob, made an unpromising beginning by saying he would halt drug—fighting flights along the Colombian border on ecological concerns about the impact of pesticides on coca plants.

Apparently he's either wised up or Ecuador's police forces have taken care of business without him.

By busting Hezbollah, the Ecuadoreans have helped shield their own country from the scourge of narcoterrorism whose impact they can see all too well in bordering Colombia. Because that is what Hezbollah's continued presence would have become. All terrorism is narcoterrorism, notes expert Rachel Ehrenfeld, who coined the latter term. Tough law enforcement gets the word to Hezbollah that it's not welcome to set up a beachhead in Ecuador.

Hopefully, Ecuador will continue to stay vigilant.

A.M. Mora y Leon 06 23 05