Peru to Track Drug Production Chemicals via Satellite

By Dialogo
October 29, 2012

Peru began using satellites on October 25 to track trucks carrying legally-purchased chemicals that can be used to make cocaine.

The measure, part of several new laws approved by the government of President Ollanta Humala to increase security, is a blow against the illegal drug trade, said Prime Minister Juan Jiménez.

Vehicles belonging to companies authorized to import the chemicals for legal purposes must have a GPS satellite tracking system and travel on routes previously authorized by police, Jimenez told reporters.

Police and officials with the country’s tax office will monitor where the chemicals are sent, Jimenez said.

Cocaine is produced by soaking coca leaves in ponds with kerosene, gasoline and chemicals that include hydrochloric acid and ammonia. A solution from leaves is then filtered, refined and crystallized.

While the United Nations says Peru is the world’s second largest producer of coca leaf after Colombia, it is the world’s top producer of cocaine, according to 2011 figures from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Coca grows exclusively in the eastern slopes of the South American Andes mountain range.

The Peruvian government says that local drug traffickers work along with remnants of the Shining Path group that terrorized the country in the 1980s and 1990s.



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