Amid the coronavirus crisis, the Peruvian Armed Forces, together with the National Police, destroyed six cocaine laboratories in the Amazon region of Loreto, near the border with Colombia. The interventions, carried out in mid-May as part of operation Jupiter III against narcotrafficking, enabled authorities to seize supplies for drug production, in addition to 80 hectares of coca leaves and about 10 cubic meters of processed coca leaves.
Some of the supplies found included about 160 kilograms of ammonium sulfate, used to refine cocaine base paste, and a dozen cylinders with various chemicals. Authorities made no arrests during the operation.
“In parallel to control measures imposed during the COVID-19 state of emergency, the Armed Forces Joint Command [CCFFAA] and the Peruvian Police continue to carry out joint interdictions, managing to intervene and destroy six labs,” the CCFFAA Public Affairs Office indicated.
So far in 2020, the Peruvian Armed Forces have found more than 10 laboratories in these jungle areas, according to press releases from the CCFFAA. For example, on March 12 near the Orosa River in the Las Amazonas district, Loreto region, elements of the CCFFAA’s Amazon Operational Command destroyed two camps with facilities for the production of cocaine that contained cylinders with fuel, chopped coca leaves, and other chemicals. The troops detained four Peruvian nationals during the operation.
In another operation carried out March 4-6, authorities found and disabled two labs in the Teniente Manuel Clavero district, Putumayo province, Loreto. Authorities captured five people, three Peruvians and two Colombians.
Authorities found another clandestine cocaine lab on February 27 in Santa Elena de Imasa village, San Pablo district, in Loreto. At this location, authorities burned 10 containers with chopped coca leaves, as well as other chemical supplies, and seized several firearms.
“Through its Amazon Operational Command, the Armed Forces Joint Command continues to work relentlessly to combat illicit activities in this region of the country,” the CCFFAA said about the operations.
“You can only get here by boat or helicopter, and a series of criminals, both Peruvians and Colombian nationals, are taking advantage of that to commit illegal acts, such as narcotrafficking, illegal logging, and other crimes,” Peruvian Minister of Defense Walter Martos told the Peruvian news portal RPP.
As such, the Peruvian Armed Forces have increased operations in the Amazon region. In late 2019, the CCFFAA announced the results of the first three Armageddon operations, aimed at fighting narcotrafficking and related crimes in the Loreto region. Authorities destroyed more than 40 drug labs and detained 50 people, including Peruvian and Colombian citizens, the CCFFAA said.