U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, on a five-nation visit to Latin America to review American anti-narcotics programs, was briefly delayed when bad weather forced his plane to land in the Ecuadorean port of Guayaquil.

Heavy rains around Quito forced the landing of the flight, which originated from Bogota, Colombia.If the rains around Quito abated Friday, Meese and Drug Enforcement Administration chief John Lawn were to fly from Quayaquil, a Pacific port 170 miles southwest of the capital, to Quito, Foreign Ministry sources said.

The two envoys were to meet with Foreign Minister Rafael Garcia Velasco and discuss Ecuador's growing role as a distribution point for cocaine headed to Europe and the United States, sources said.

That role became apparent late last month, when police backed by U.S. narcotics agents arrested 12 people and smashed a cocaine ring in Guayaquil in one of the biggest drug arrests in the nation in recent times.

Authorities were led to the ring after a drug bust in Spain March 24.