U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas met with President Guillermo Lasso Monday to discuss a binational partnership to combat transnational crime. The talks centered on measures to prevent the transport of illegal drugs from Ecuador to Europe and the U.S., but also covered cybersecurity and migration issues.
“We are pleased to work with the government of Ecuador on ways to control criminal activity that affect both of our countries,” Mayorkas said in press conference following two days of meetings. “International criminal organizations have targeted Ecuador and other Latin American nations, particularly in the area of drug shipments and we are developing plans combat the problem.”
Mayorkas added that the U.S. has agreed to provide technical support to Ecuador for monitoring shipments out of the country’s major ports. “Drug cartels have exploited security loopholes in the ports at Guayaquil, Machala and Manta and we are working to close these,” he said. “We are also offering support for Ecuador’s radar and naval monitoring systems to detect drugs coming into the country.”
Officials of the two countries also discussed migration issues, including the deportation from the U.S. of Ecuadorians attempting to enter the U.S. illegally. “We are working to improve our message to those considering entering the U.S. without documentation,” Mayorkas said. “We are telling them not to put their lives in the hands of smugglers and human taffickers since they are putting their lives at risk. In most cases, even if they are able to enter the U.S. they will be returned.”