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Latest News in Peru / Archive for Narcotics

  
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Narcotics | July 13, 2011 [ 16:00 ]

Fuel sale by Peru military may have benefited cocaine producers


LivinginPeru.com

peru
A helicopter on patrol in the VRAE (Photo: Luis Ichaustegui/Andina)

Members of the Peruvian military have been implicated in the sale of aviation fuel, which may have later been used to make illegal drugs.

As reported in the news program “24 horas” and in El Comercio, General Benigno Cabrera, the military chief in the Apurimac and Ene River Valley area, or VRAE, gave the go-ahead for the sale of kerosene helicopter fuel to a dealer in Pichanaqui, Satipo.

The dealer, operating a gas station called “Moralitos”,  subsequently had his business shut down and was placed in custody of the police for violating local laws banning the sale of large quantities of kerosene. Large-scale kerosene sales are banned in Pichanaqui due to the use of the flammable liquid by cocaine producers.

The owner of the gas station, Fredy Marcelo Hurtado, claims to have been threatened not to report the sale, and now is asking for police protection.

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Narcotics | June 24, 2011 [ 9:01 ]

Coca cultivation continues to rise in Peru


LivinginPeru.com

peru
Coca cultivation rose 2.2 percent in the last year. (Photo: Living in Peru archive)

A report released Thursday in Lima by the UN and the National Commission for Development and Life without Drugs (Devida) says that coca cultivation in Peru has increased for the fifth consecutive year.

In 2005, the country had an area of coca cultivation from 48,200 hectares. In 2009 that figure rose to 59,900 hectares. Today it stands at 61,200 hectares. In a year it rose 2.2 percent.

Meanwhile, Colombia's coca cultivation dropped 15 percent from the previous year.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that while overall coca production in the Andes was down by 6 percent in 2010 compared to the year before, the increase in Peru is proof positive of the “balloon effect” that drug war watchers always warn about: when pressure is applied in one area, production “balloons” in another.

Although the report does not contain data on cocaine production, Peru.21 warned last year that the country was on course to becoming the largest producer of the product. Peru is already the leading exporter of this drug, the newspaper reports.

Devida president, Rómulo Pizarro, said that regardless of who heads the world's list of producers, it is more important to recognize the influence of drugs as "generator of corruption, violence and terrorism in the country."

He added that the drug trade injects between $2 and $2.5 billion a year in the economy, and the Peruvian government only spends $420 million in its different drug policies to combat it. He calls for more support from the U.S. and Europe, where cocaine consumption is concentrated.

Despite the alarming figures, Pizarro said that "good news" is that growth in the acres of the crop has fallen. In 2008 it rose 4.5 percent, in 2009 it was up 6 percent and in 2010 it remained at 2.2 percent.

He also stressed that crop substitution programs have lead to a 25 percent reduction in the crop in some regions previously devoted almost exclusively to coca, such as the Upper Huallaga. However, he recognized that the coca growers have moved their crops to other parts of the country, and therefore the end result is an increase.

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Narcotics | June 13, 2011 [ 16:06 ]

Peru and Bolivia unite to fight drug trafficking


LivinginPeru.com

peru
Minister of the Interior Miguel Hidalgo. (Photo: Hector Vinces/Andina)

Peru and Bolivia have begun consultations on how to jointly fight drug trafficking and money laundering, said the Peruvian Interior Ministry on Sunday,

Peruvian Minister of the Interior Miguel Hidalgo and his Bolivian counterpart Sacha Llorenti met in Lima to discuss how to dispel the public's sense of insecurity, stop smuggling and improve migration systems.

The two ministers agreed to invite their Brazilian counterpart to a meeting and work out a trilateral plan against drug trafficking, Xinhua reported.

Similar to Colombia, Peru and Bolivia are also big producers of coca leaves, a main ingredient for producing cocaine.

Drug traffickers use Brazil as a route to export drugs made in Latin America to Europe, Africa and Asia, Andina reports.

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Narcotics | June 13, 2011 [ 13:57 ]

Man from the U.K. released from Peruvian jail after serving two years


BBC

peru
Alan Rae of Faringdon, U.K. (Photo: BBC)

Alan Rae, 40, from Faringdon, U.K. was arrested in 2009 and given a 14-year sentence for drug smuggling after a trial earlier this year, the BBC reports.

He has now been acquitted on appeal and is hoping to be back in Oxfordshire for his daughter's 15th birthday on Sunday.

Rae's partner, Lynn Rae, said, "This is the best birthday present our daughter has ever had."

Rae was arrested when he and his travel companion, Nathan Brandon, from Abingdon, were stopped at Jorge Chavez International Airport.

Brandon was found to be carrying cocaine and took full responsibility for the crime, but Rae was also imprisoned.

For the first year and a half in Peru he had no legal representation, but the human rights charity Fair Trials International campaigned on his behalf.

Chief Executive of the charity Jago Russell said, "An acquittal of this kind in a drug case in Peru is extremely rare, and we are grateful to the authorities for giving this case the careful attention it deserved."

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Narcotics | February 14, 2011 [ 15:04 ]

16 kilograms of drugs seized at Lima airport


LivinginPeru.com

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Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport. (Photo: masaru_yoshiyama/Flickr)

Peru's anti-drug agents confiscated over 16 kilos of cocaine at Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport, from two travelers who were heading for São Paulo, Brazil and Madrid, Spain, La República reports.

Police first took into custody 54-year-old Spanish citizen Miguel Angel Fernández Escalante, who was carrying 4.9 kilos of cocaine hidden in his suitcase. Fernández was attempting to board a flight to Amsterdam with final destination Madrid. He was arrested at 5:30 p.m. yesterday in the departure lounge for KLM airlines.

Hours later, at 12:15 a.m. this morning, anti-drug agents arrested 21-year-old Peruvian citizen Agustín Illua García with 11.4 kilos of cocaine in his luggage. He had been planning to travel to São Paulo.

Illua was also subject to an X-ray examination in Callao’s hospital, where he was declared to possess “presence of a foreign body in the abdominal cavity.” He confessed to having ingested capsules containing drugs of an unknown quantity.

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Narcotics | February 14, 2011 [ 10:43 ]

Peru intelligence publishes list of top alleged narcos


LivinginPeru.com

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César Cataño Porras of Peruvian Airlines is a new addition to the "white list" of alleged drug lords. (Photo: El Comercio)

In 2010, heads of Peru’s main intelligence organizations met to compile a so-called “white list” of the country’s alleged leaders of narcotrafficking, which was kept secret until now.

El Comercio gained access to the document, called “Update on persons registered, identified and indicated as directors or heads of illicit drug trafficking (IDT) nationally and internationally,” also known as the Peruvian Kingpin Act (in reference to a similar list produced by the U.S. government).

A first-time name on the list is that of Adolfo Carhuallanqui Porras, who received attention in 2009 when the anti-drug unit of the Peruvian national police began trailing his vehicle importing company and, later, his air travel company Peruvian Airlines. Porras changed his name to César Cataño Porras after being linked to drug trafficking in 80s. Most worrisome are his strong links to ex-Lima mayoral candidate Lourdas Flores Nano and ex-chief of financial intelligence Carlos Hamann.

Another recent addition to the list is Fidel Sánchez Alayo of Juanjuí and the infamous La Libertad clan, who was linked to family disputes that caused the death of his uncle at a cocaine laboratory in Mexico in the 1980s. His father Segundo Manuel Sánchez Paredes and his uncles Santos Orlando and Fortunato Wilmer Sánchez Paredes have been included on the list since 2007. Several testimonies from confessed narcotrafficking agents link him to money laundering schemes and transport of drugs into the U.S.

Miguel Arévalo Ramírez, known as “Eteco,” appears on the list for the fifth consecutive time. Ramírez, owner of Central America’s Atlantic Airlines, has previously come under investigation for money laundering, and in 2003 his brothers-in-law were arrested with several kilos of drugs in Chiclayo.

Also on the list is Jair Ardela Micchue, who leads via hired assassins the wave of violence along the border of Peru, Brazil and Colombia. He is wanted by the Brazilian police since 2008 for the assassination of a Peruvian anti-drug official in Tabatinga, though there is no arrest warrant for him in Peru. Another name is that of Gualberto Mejía Estrada or “Gabino,” the powerful rancher of Huallaga, accused of money laundering and of being a ringleader for the Shining Path group “Artemio.” “Artemio” himself, along with his ex-ally and now enemy “José” (head of the terrorist faction in VRAE, the central jungle region of Peru) complete the Peruvian Kingpin Act.

The “white list” is drawn up by representatives from the intelligence department of the Ministry of the Interior, the anti-drug unit of the national police, the anti-terrorism agency and the public ministry. It is based on legal and fiscal documents as well as domestic and international intelligence reports. It was created in 2002 and is continually updated to reflect new known drug lords as well as members who are now in prison.

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Narcotics | January 20, 2011 [ 16:17 ]

The never ending battle over the coca leaf


LivinginPeru.com

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Storm in an Andean tea cup. (Photo: Internet)

If you visit Cusco, the former Inca capital, or Bolivia's capital La Paz, you will be given welcome cups of coca tea to mitigate soroche (altitude sickness). For centuries, people who live in the high Andes have chewed coca leaves, whose alkaloids act as a mild stimulant and help to ward off cold and hunger.

The Spanish conquistadors declared coca a tool of the devil, until they saw how it improved the work rate of the Indians they sent down the mines.

But refine the alkaloids in coca, and you get cocaine. In 1961 a United Nations convention on narcotics banned the leaves, giving countries 25 years to outlaw this ancestral practice. Half a century on, consuming coca remains legal in Bolivia, Peru, and some parts of Colombia, in defiance of the convention.

In Bolivia and Peru, some cultivation is legal too. In 2009 Bolivia, where a new constitution protects coca as part of the country’s cultural heritage, proposed an amendment to the convention that would remove the obligation to prohibit traditional uses of coca. Other South American countries agree.

The amendment would have passed if no objections were raised by the end of this month. But this week the United States spoke up, probably scuppering the change. The European Union (at Britain’s behest) may follow. They argue that tolerating the use of coca harms efforts to suppress cocaine. Bolivia insists it would continue to fight cocaine and limit coca cultivation. But cultivation in Bolivia and Peru has long outstripped traditional use, and is rising sharply.

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Narcotics | January 17, 2011 [ 15:12 ]

Drug ring dismantled by authorities in Peru and Spain


LivinginPeru.com

peru drug bust
Peruvian authorities confiscated 5,275 kilograms of cocaine that was headed to Spain.
 
An international drug network that shipped cocaine from Peru to Spain has been broken up by authorities in the two countries, state news agency Andina reported.

Authorities carried out operations in the Spanish cities of Barcelona, Las Palmas, Madrid and Peru, the report said.

In total, 25 people were arrested, with 19 of those being captured in Spain and six in Peru. The suspects include Spaniards, Peruvians, Dominicans, Venezuelans and Mexicans.

In Spain, authorities confiscated 20 kilograms of cocaine, 65,000 Euros (approximately $78,700), three guns, and fake identification.

In Peru, 5,275 kilograms of cocaine were confiscated, 2 guns and documents that referenced the police investigation.

The cocaine was carried to Spain through airports by drug “mules.”

Peru is the world’s top producer of coca, the raw material used to make cocaine, according to the UN’s 2010 World Drug Report.

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Narcotics | November 24, 2010 [ 17:13 ]

VIDEO: British Embassy in Peru launches campaign against drug trafficking


LivinginPeru.com

British Embassy in Lima, Peru launches video campaign against drug trafficking
There are 41 British nationals in Peruvian jails charged for drug trafficking. (Image taken from video)

The video campaign “Drug Trafficking in South America: Easy Cash? Easily Caught!” was launched by the British Embassy in Lima.

The campaign aims at making those tempted to get involved in drug trafficking aware of the high possibilities of being arrested and the consequences that this crime entails.  

Its objective is to make people think twice before they say, “I’ll do it.”

Three prisoners’ personal testimonies are included in the video, where they describe their regrets at having gone for apparently easy cash.

There are more than 100 British nationals detained in South America for drug smuggling, and 41 of them are in Peru.

The testimonies were all filmed at the Sarita Colonia prison of Callao, Peru’s principal port, seven kilometers away from Lima, where over 600 foreign nationals are held for drug trafficking.

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Narcotics | October 25, 2010 [ 10:07 ]

Shining Path head and drug trafficker captured in Ayacucho, Peru


LivinginPeru.com

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Police say that Pérez, captured in Ayacucho, is one of the six biggest drug traffickers in the VRAE zone. (Photo: RPP)

Óscar Moises Pérez, presumably Shining Path’s main cashier in the Apurímac and Ene Valleys (VRAE), was captured in Huanta, Ayacucho, by a joint squad of Armed Force and the National Police members, reported RPP.

Pérez is Orlando Alejandro Borda Casafranca’s cousin, Shining Path’s military head in the VRAE area, better known as “Alipio,” and also one of the six biggest drug traffickers in this area.

Military reports assure that Pérez was responsible for providing logistic support, such as ammunition and food, to members of this organization. He will be pressed with charges for laundering money and transporting cocaine chloridate.

Pérez has been taken to Pichari, where the interrogations are being held.

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