Peru Seizes Nearly A Ton Of US-Bound Cocaine

By Dialogo
October 17, 2011

Nearly a ton of cocaine bound for the US market was seized in Peru, counternarcotics officials said, announcing the arrest of a Colombian and six Peruvians.

“This is a hard blow for drug trafficking because it involved a single mafia led by a Colombian trafficker who goes by the name ‘Bellota,’” Peruvian police chief Victor Torres told reporters.

In a first operation, police and army seized 1,190 lbs of drugs on October 7 in the central province of Satipo, where the seven suspects were arrested.

Authorities confiscated 915 lbs of cocaine chlorhydrate (crystal form) during a second operation five days later, and dismantled two drug labs.

Police say the merchandise had been due to transit through Mexico before reaching the United States, the world’s top consumer of cocaine.

Over the past year, Peruvian police have arrested at least 12 Colombian citizens seeking to ship cocaine to Europe.

The Apurimac and Ene River Valley is the biggest cocaine-producing region in the country, where authorities say drug traffickers allied with former members of the leftist Shining Path guerrilla operate.

Peru is among the world’s biggest producers of cocaine, with production estimated at 330 tons, a little less than Colombia’s 350 tons.

Coca cultivation in Peru grew for the fifth consecutive year in 2010 to cover 151,230 acres, compared to 153,200 acres planted in Colombia, according to UN figures.