Peruvian Army Captures 2 Alleged Members of Shining Path Terrorist Group

By Dialogo
November 21, 2014



The Peruvian Army recently captured two suspected members of the Shining Path terrorist group following a gunfight in the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM) region.

César Valencia Curo and Emilio Meléndez Borda, both identified as suspects by the military, were captured in a vehicle in the southern province of Huanta shortly after midnight on November 13. Soldiers also arrested the vehicle’s driver, Josías Romero, and a woman who said she is his wife; they seized an array of firearms and ammunition as well.

Army officials suspect Meléndez Borda is a cousin of the late Shining Path leader Orlando Alejandro Borda Casafranco, who was also known as “Comrade Alipio.” The Armed Forces killed Comrade Alipio during a military operation in the VRAEM in August 2013.

The Shining Path is allied with narco-traffickers in the VRAEM, which is the world’s top region for cultivating coca, the main ingredient used to make cocaine. The organization uses drug trafficking revenue to funds its terrorist operations.

In 2012, criminal organizations cultivated more than 60,000 hectares of coca crops in Perú, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Perú is home to 13-coca growing regions, with 60,400 hectares used for coca cultivation. Ninety-three percent of the country’s coca is used for the drug trade, with the remaining plants used for traditional consumption and industrial use, according to Peru’s National Commission for a Drug-Free Life (DEVIDA).

Security operations in the VRAEM


Confronting and capturing Shining Path operatives, cracking down on narco-flights, dismantling the infrastructure used by drug trafficking groups to transport drugs, and improving social conditions in the region are all part of the federal government’s strategy to defeat drug trafficking in the VRAEM.

For example, in their efforts to dismantle drug trafficking infrastructure, Peruvian security forces have destroyed at least 54 clandestine landing strips used by narco-traffickers since 2011. The majority of the runways were 500 meters long, 10 meters wide and were located in the VRAEM.

International cooperation is an important component of the fight against narco-flights. For instance, Peruvian and Bolivian officials recently agreed to share real-time information regarding suspicious planes traveling across the border the two country’s share. This will help security forces interdict the high volume of cocaine produced in Perú and transported into Bolivia. About half of the 450 tons of cocaine produced in Perú annually is flown to Bolivia by plane before being routed to Central America, North America, Brazil, Mexico, Europe and Asia.

While security forces are combatting drug trafficking, the federal government is taking steps to improve social conditions in the VRAEM. The government has approved about $586 million (USD) to develop social programs, housing, agriculture and a highway for residents in the VRAEM, according to Luis Rojas, the executive secretary of the Multisectoral Commission for Pacification and Economic Development of the VRAEM.

The government is also providing technical training to students as old as 40, to help them develop skills to get jobs. This training initiative and other social programs sponsored by the government have helped 200,000 people.

“The most important aspect is that measures have been adopted and each one of them has been estimated to encourage VRAEM’s sustained progress, which is irreversible,” Luis Rojas, the executive secretary of the Multisectoral Commission for Pacification and Economic Development of the VRAEM, told reporters.


The Peruvian Army recently captured two suspected members of the Shining Path terrorist group following a gunfight in the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM) region.

César Valencia Curo and Emilio Meléndez Borda, both identified as suspects by the military, were captured in a vehicle in the southern province of Huanta shortly after midnight on November 13. Soldiers also arrested the vehicle’s driver, Josías Romero, and a woman who said she is his wife; they seized an array of firearms and ammunition as well.

Army officials suspect Meléndez Borda is a cousin of the late Shining Path leader Orlando Alejandro Borda Casafranco, who was also known as “Comrade Alipio.” The Armed Forces killed Comrade Alipio during a military operation in the VRAEM in August 2013.

The Shining Path is allied with narco-traffickers in the VRAEM, which is the world’s top region for cultivating coca, the main ingredient used to make cocaine. The organization uses drug trafficking revenue to funds its terrorist operations.

In 2012, criminal organizations cultivated more than 60,000 hectares of coca crops in Perú, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Perú is home to 13-coca growing regions, with 60,400 hectares used for coca cultivation. Ninety-three percent of the country’s coca is used for the drug trade, with the remaining plants used for traditional consumption and industrial use, according to Peru’s National Commission for a Drug-Free Life (DEVIDA).

Security operations in the VRAEM


Confronting and capturing Shining Path operatives, cracking down on narco-flights, dismantling the infrastructure used by drug trafficking groups to transport drugs, and improving social conditions in the region are all part of the federal government’s strategy to defeat drug trafficking in the VRAEM.

For example, in their efforts to dismantle drug trafficking infrastructure, Peruvian security forces have destroyed at least 54 clandestine landing strips used by narco-traffickers since 2011. The majority of the runways were 500 meters long, 10 meters wide and were located in the VRAEM.

International cooperation is an important component of the fight against narco-flights. For instance, Peruvian and Bolivian officials recently agreed to share real-time information regarding suspicious planes traveling across the border the two country’s share. This will help security forces interdict the high volume of cocaine produced in Perú and transported into Bolivia. About half of the 450 tons of cocaine produced in Perú annually is flown to Bolivia by plane before being routed to Central America, North America, Brazil, Mexico, Europe and Asia.

While security forces are combatting drug trafficking, the federal government is taking steps to improve social conditions in the VRAEM. The government has approved about $586 million (USD) to develop social programs, housing, agriculture and a highway for residents in the VRAEM, according to Luis Rojas, the executive secretary of the Multisectoral Commission for Pacification and Economic Development of the VRAEM.

The government is also providing technical training to students as old as 40, to help them develop skills to get jobs. This training initiative and other social programs sponsored by the government have helped 200,000 people.

“The most important aspect is that measures have been adopted and each one of them has been estimated to encourage VRAEM’s sustained progress, which is irreversible,” Luis Rojas, the executive secretary of the Multisectoral Commission for Pacification and Economic Development of the VRAEM, told reporters.
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