Peru’s security forces dismantled 24 drug trafficking gangs during the first six months of 2014, authorities said.
The Anti-Drug Directorate (DIRANDRO) of the National Police of Peru (PNP) also captured three dozen members of Los Malditos del Triunfo, an organized crime group which engages in assassinations, extortion, money laundering, arms trafficking,.
General Vicente Romero Fernández, director of DIRANDRO, reported these and other accomplishments on June 26, during a ceremony celebrating the 23rd anniversary of the establishment of DIRANDRO. The PNP leader discussed security successes from January through June 24, according to La Jornada.
Security forces also seized more than 13 tons of drugs, Romero Fernández said.
Interior Minister Daniel Urresti, General Jorge Flores Goycochea, director of the PNP, and several high-ranking civilian officials attended the event.
The ceremony was held at the Police Social Club in La Molina. Authorities honored 25 DIRANDRO officers for their outstanding work fighting drug trafficking.
During the ceremony, Urresti said that he wants to see security forces destroy drug labs, detain drug traffickers, and dismantle clandestine landing strips used by airplane pilots who smuggle drugs, according to El Peruano.
A series of security successes
During the ceremony, authorities detailed a series of security successes achieved during the first six months of 2014:
• Security forces throughout the country detained more than 6,000 criminal suspects for various offenses, including drug trafficking. • Authorities confiscated 10 million Peruvian soles that authorities believe were generated from drug trafficking.
• Police agents carried out 6,670 initiatives against organized crime groups, and seized 129 weapons.
• Working with the Commission for Development and Life without Drugs (DEVIDA) and the Project for the Control and Reduction of Illegal Crops in the Alto Huallaga (CORAH), security forces eradicated 14,700 hectares of illegal coca leaf crops and 660 coca seedlings.
• Authorities dismantled 640 clandestine laboratories which were allegedly used by drug trafficking organizations to process and manufacture cocaine base, cocaine hydrochloride, and opium derivatives. Police also seized more than one million doses of chemical precursors.
• Security forces destroyed 91 clandestine airstrips used by drug trafficking groups.
Commitment to reducing drug trafficking
The various security operations show the government’s determination to fight drug trafficking, Romero said during the DIRANDRO ceremony, according to Andina.
“These military operations reflect the commitment to achieving the eradication of illegal drug trafficking and prevent their use,” he said.
Security forces are continuing to carry out initiatives against drug trafficking organizations.
For example, on June 26, the National Police carried out simultaneous operations in Lima, Chepén, Tarapoto, and Trujillo. Law enforcement officers arrested 30 people including alleged enforcers and suspected extortionists. The security operations targeted alleged members of Los Malditos del Triunfo, a violent organized crime group.
Security forces also arrested a lawyer and an accountant, according to published reports.
The arrests capped a four-month investigation which was supervised by prosecutor William Rabanal Palacios. At least 50 prosecutors and dozens of police officers participated in the operation, El Comercio reported on July 6.
Los Malditos del Triunfo
Los Malditos del Triunfo were led by Segundo Samuel Correa Gamarra, who is also known as “Paco.”
Peruvian police captured Paco in January 2010 in Chepén province. He is now incarcerated in the Miguel Castro Castro prison in Lima.
Los Malditos del Triunfo engage in a variety of criminal enterprises, including the extortion of individuals and businesses, property theft, arms trading, money laundering, and assassinations of rival gang members and others.
The gang is suspected in the 2013 killing of security agent José Alva Vásquez.
A team of gunmen shot Alva Vasquez was shot to death on March 31, 2014 at a festival in the district of La Esperanza, in Trujillo. Alva Vásquez was enjoying his day off when a team of at least six attackers entered the festival and started shooting at César León Díaz, who was also known as “Super Loco.”
The gunmen killed Alva Vásquez and Super Loco, then ran away.
Using technology to fight crime
Peruvian security forces are using technology to fight Los Malditos del Triunfo and other criminal groups.
Security forces are using computer databases to create maps which show where crime is occurring throughout the country. The map helps police develop strategies to combat criminal activity, according to Diego Salazar, principal investigator of the Andean Journal of Political Studies.
The maps are helping security forces “prioritize” how they use their resources in the fight against criminal groups, Salazar said.
The terrorist group Shining Path is the largest organized crime group in Peru. The group engages in drug trafficking, arms smuggling, money laundering, and the production of coca paste.
International drug trafficking organizations also operate in Peru. These include the Sinaloa Cartel, based in Mexico, and Los Rastrojos and Los Urabeños, two Colombian-based drug trafficking groups.
Cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking
The United States is cooperating with Peru in the fight against drug trafficking.
Brian Nichols, the U.S. ambassador in Lima, recently acknowledged the successes of Peruvian security forces.
“I want to acknowledge the important work of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Attorney General’s Office, and their entire team,” Nichols said on July 9 during the signing of a joint cooperation agreement between the two countries to fight money laundering, according to Inforegión.
The agreement, signed between the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Peru and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), calls for authorities to develop a specialized program to train 250 Peruvian prosecutors in the best methods to investigate and prosecute money laundering.
The cooperation agreement also includes the participation of the National Police, the Superintendency of Banks, and the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF). The two countries will also share information.
International cooperation in the fight against organized crime syndicates is important, because of the transnational nature of drug trafficking and other criminal enterprises, Salazar said.