Ecuador mixes seized cocaine with cement to prevent its reuse

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The Ecuadorian authorities began to use a method called encapsulation by which mix cocaine powder with cement to make concrete blocks and thus avoid its recovery and reuse and quickly destroy this illegal substance.

Cocaine hydrochloride is ground into a powder, mixed with cement, salt, and chemical accelerators to form a substance that is then poured into molds. After drying, it hardens completely, in such a way that it is impossible to extract the cocaine.

The Undersecretary for Drug Control of the Ministry of the Interior, Edmundo Mera, explained the method in an interview with the portal InSightCrime and highlighted that from the beginning of the year and until October 14, 2022, Ecuador had destroyed almost 180 tons of drugs in total, and 61 percent were destroyed using the potting technique.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recommends encapsulation as a viable way to dispose of drugs and toxic materials used in drug processing, but Ecuador is the first country to destroy cocaine on such a large scale with this method, said a UNODC expert on synthetic drugs, Martin Raithelhuber, in statements to InSightCrime.

It is also a fast and very necessary method in Ecuador, where In ports alone, seizures have increased by 42 percent in 2022.

The encapsulation allows destroy up to 1,500 kilos of drugs per hour, while incineration is limited to 70 kilos per hour.

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