News Story - August 23, 2021

Man dies after being found unconscious in Montañita, possibly a case of scopolamine

Johan Klok

A scopolia plant.
A scopolia plant.

On Saturday morning (August 21, 2021), a man was found unconscious in Montañita. Firefighters took him to the hospital in Manglaralto. Two hours after admission to this hospital he died. Police officers have confirmed that he had received a strong dose of scopolamine. When he was found, he had no documents with him. On his right arm, he had a bracelet that is used by hotels to identity guests.

What is scopolamine?

Scopolamine, also known as burundanga and the devil’s breath, is a mind-control drug that criminals use to rob their victims. It is made by a substance of the scopolia plant, which grows in many parts of the Ecuadorian Andes but can also grow in other parts of the country. Scopolamine makes the victims willing to cooperate in their robbery, for example by taking their robbers to their hotel room and pointing out valuable items. An overdose can be fatal, as appears to be the case in this case. A common practice is to mix scopolamine into victims' drinks in clubs and bars. This crime occurs all over Ecuador, but especially in Guayaquil and Montañita.

Source: Nico Peninsula.


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