Drug crime

Scopolamine and Burundanga become weapons of crime in Ecuador

BY: SAMUEL LAY

On a regular day thousands of people go walking in the streets and receive fliers from people advertising their products. Others go to department stores and try on new perfumes and others help tourists in the street finding the addresses they are looking for. Now, would you ever consider all these actions as life risking things? As a matter of fact, they are. This is thanks to two drugs that are becoming famous in the robbery world, Scopolamine and Burundanga.

Scopolamine and Burundanga are tropane alkaloid drugs. They are extracted from plants such as Henbane and Jimson Weed and other plants that are event to be found in backyards of houses. Producing these drugs is fast and its access is easy. Perhaps this is the reason why, according to a local newspaper, the use of Scopolamine for committing crimes in Ecuador increased by a 45 percent in 2011.

Crimes involving the drugs include robbery, rape and kidnapping. You don’t necessarily have to inject the drug into your system. Just by simply touching it, spraying a certain amount on your skin or breathing it you may be exposed to delirium such as disorientation, loss of memory, hallucinations, and stupor.

These drugs work on the victim really fast and their effect last from several hours to even days. However, the drug can remain in the victim’s blood up to two months. Its afterward symptoms may include nausea, dizziness, agitation, fever excitability, seizures or convulsions. Even if the amount of drug used is not appropriate it may lead to coma and death.

Josh Zook, former AAI student from the class of 2011, was almost a victim of this drug. Fortunately he was able to run away in time and apart from the side effects nothing worst happened. Zook was going in a cab with his girlfriend when the taxi driver gave him a paper. Seconds after touching it, Zook felt something was not right. He is not sure whether the drug that the taxi driver used was Scopolamine or Burundanga.

“I was going on a date and my girlfriend and I took a taxi. The taxi driver looked like an innocent old man. After touching the paper I felt dizzy and I realized that he was acting suspicious, he was asking me weird questions. After that, I forgot what I was thinking about. I was absent minded.”

This experience is just one of the thousands of cases that happen each year in Ecuador. According to Zook the encounter with this drug hidden in the paper was really fast and it was a matter of minutes for Zook to loose his memory.

“I was in the cab for about three minutes. My advice would be, don’t touch anything the cab driver tries to give you and be sure to get out of it if you feel threatened.”

Its use has been increasing in most South American countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. The victims of these kinds of crimes can vary from old to young people, man or women. It is really important to be aware of the danger of this drug. It is recommendable to always be with someone else. As soon as you start feeling dizzy or disorientated the best thing to do is run to the nearest place where you could find help.

After a person has been controlled by the effect of the drug, the victim is completely vulnerable and looses his or her capability of decision. It is easy for the robber to accomplish the felony because the victim will do whatever he or she is said to do. This is why there have been many cases in which the victim under the effect of Scopolamine and Burundanga have been asked to withdraw money from the ATM or open the door to their residencies.

This is a latent risk worth it to be aware of. The number of crimes keeps increasing and statistics show it. The bad thing about it is that you never know who can be the person intending to use this drug on you. There have been reports on which women, taxi drivers, cashiers and even children have been part of this new kind of robbery.

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