Peru cooperates with the FBI to fight organized crime
By Dialogo March 16, 2014
Peruvian security forces are strengthening their collaboration with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to fight transnational criminal organizations which engage in drug trafficking, kidnapping, oil theft, extortion, cyber-theft, and other criminal enterprises.
The National Police of Peru (PNP) and the FBI recently signed a “letter of intent”, in which the two law enforcement agencies agreed to cooperate in the battle against transnational criminal organizations, according to published reports.
The Peruvian ambassador in Washington, D.C., Harolf Forsyth, and FBI Assistant Director Richard McFeeley signed the document at FBI headquarters in Washington on Jan. 23, 2014.
The PNP and the FBI agreed to work together to strengthen digital technology which can help identify criminal suspects. The two law enforcement agencies also pledged to work together to make sure both agencies have the most modern tools for scientific forensic investigations. This would include technology to identify fingerprints and conduct DNA tests.
The collaboration with the FBI will help improve public safety in Peru, Forsyth said.
“The field of police science advances very quickly in the world,” the ambassador said. “If we want to build a safer society in Peru, we need to keep up with these new techniques. Peru faces a serious problem: transnational crime.”
The Peruvian government has been sending PNP officers to the FBI Academy in the U.S. state of Virginia since 2012, authorities said. The PNP will send a greater number of officers to the academy in 2014, authorities said.
Law enforcement training
A week before signing the agreement with the FBI, prosecutors’ offices, the PNP, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the Judiciary (PJ) of Peru presented the “Protocols and Action Guide” for the PNP and other Peruvian law enforcers.
As detailed in the document, the PNP and the FBI will focus on training a variety of law tactics, such as the best way to monitor and record telephone calls and other forms of communication, such as text messages and how to enter a building using force, according to a statement from the PJ.
“The purpose is to standardize the work for law enforcement administrators. From now on, these institutions will avoid contradictions and delays when implementing measures,” said Walter Chávez Cotrina, chief of the Public Prosecutor’s office and the coordinator of special prosecutions against organized crime.
Senior Supreme Court Judge Luis Almenara Bryson presented these new tools of action against organized crime on Jan. 16, 2014 in the Palace of Justice. .
Whenever a crime is reported, police face a series of challenges, Col. Víctor Gonzáles Silva, head of the PNP’s criminal investigation division for kidnappings told the website, Peru21.
For example, law enforcement officers usually have just 24 hours to investigate a detainee before they would have to release him or her.
The new protocols for law enforcement officers in per “represent a major breakthrough,” said José Luis García Villena, communications director for the State Bar Association of Lima. “The protocols and the guide are essential in the fight against criminal organizations, crime, and the current public insecurity situation in Peru.”
International drug trafficking
The link between international drug trafficking According to the study “Situational Analysis of Drug Trafficking 2013” conducted by the American Police Community (Ameripol), the link between drug trafficking and terrorism is a serious threat to Peruvian national security.
The Shining Path rebel group trafficks drugs and engages in other criminal activities like extortion in order to buy arms and finance terrorist activities. The Shining Path and drug traffickers from Mexico and Colombia operate around 300 clandestine laboratories in the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAEM), the largest coca-growing basin in the country, according to authorities.
Since 2000, the presence of Mexican cartels has expanded by 60 percent, according to the publication, Expresso. The Sinaloa Cartel maintains armed gangs and produces cocaine and marijuana in the VRAEM, in coastal regions, and in Ayabaca, located in the Piura Mountains.
One of the gangs involved in drug trafficking includes the brothers, Máximo, Zósimo, and Sergio Arce Medina, who are from the La Mar province of Ayacucho. The Arce Medina brothers operate in towns of Satipo province, La República reported.
The Arce Medina brothers buy drugs from various producers in the VRAEM, the region where the Shining Path rebel group operates. Then they transport the drugs to nearby towns, and then ship them via air to Bolivia and Brazil. Other gangs known as “Motoco”, “Platanazo”, “David”, and “Chino” also traffic drugs.
Europe, in particular Spain followed by Italy and the Netherlands, is the main destination for drugs leaving Peru.
“The government has drawn up an intelligence strategy in the fight against drug trafficking. All security forces have declared a full-fledged fight against drug trafficking and related activities such as money-laundering,” García Villena said.
From January 2007 to May 2012, organized crime groups in Peru laundered about $5.3 billion (USD), authorities said.
International cooperation with the FBI complement the continuing efforts of Peruvian security forces to destroy coca crops, intercept illegal flights loaded with cocaine, and purchase equipment and technology to fight against transnational criminal organizations.
According to García Villena, “The success of these actions depends on cooperation between institutions and Peruvian society” García Villena said. “We have to form a united front to combat public insecurity, terrorism, and drug cartels.”
All countries in the world should cooperate and share intelligence information to fight against these organizations, García Villena said.