Ecuador seizes cocaine bound for China

QUITO, Ecuador - Ecuadoran police have smashed an international drug trafficking ring that attempted to ship cocaine to China, the interior ministry said Saturday.

Three Colombians, three Ecuadorans, a Dominican and a Venezuelan were arrested after an operation Thursday and Friday in three locations in southwestern Guayas province.

Police seized 253 kilograms (560 pounds) of cocaine that was destined for China, the ministry said, calling it "the first time a shipment bound for China has been detected." The drug ring had been operating in Ecuador since February, shipping drugs from the port of Guayaquil to Panama, and from there to China.

The cocaine was believed to have come from Colombia.

While Ecuador does not produce large quantities of drugs, it is considered a transit country for cocaine manufactured in Colombia and Peru.