HomeNewsAnalysisCorrupt Cops in Peru Remain On Duty
ANALYSIS

Corrupt Cops in Peru Remain On Duty

PERU / 25 MAR 2011 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

There are over 2,000 Peruvian anti-drug police operating in the East Andes, where most of Peru's cocaine is produced. Dogged by corruption scandals, the force has done little to win "hearts and minds" across the nation, especially in the crucial coca-producing regions where the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrillas are growing in strength.

In a national survey conducted in August 2010, 45 percent of Peruvians said they believed the police are corrupt. And there are plenty of scandals that have deepened the public's distrust of the police, already unpopular for enforcing the government's eradication programs in coca-rich areas like the Upper Huallaga Valley.

In the past three years, 18 anti-drug officers have been arrested for their ties to the drug trade, most of them based in the Apurimac and Ene river valleys (Valle de los Rios Apurimac y Ene – VRAE). This area remains a safehaven for the Shining Path, who are resurging in strength here thanks to profits from drug trafficking.

Of the 18 anti-drug officers accused of collaborating with the drug trade since 2009, most were found transfering loads of coca base in police vehicles to stash houses, reports Peruvian newspaper La Republica. At least two police captains and one mayor are among those facing charges, indicating that it is not just rank-and-file officers who have been corrupted.

Peru's main anti-narcotics force, known by its Spanish acronym DIRANDRO, have cited accomplishments like the destruction of 1,148 cocaine laboratories last year, according to the U.S. State Department's 2011 Narcotics Control Report. But overall trends indicate that coca and cocaine production are on the rise in Peru: Some analysts have predicted that Peru could surpass Colombia in coca and cocaine production by 2011 or 2011.

The drug trade, meanwhile, continues to aid the Shining Path, especially in the VRAE, where the guerrillas are growing in size and sophistication. They have been able to diversify their cocaine smuggling routes from the highlands to the Pacific coast, using the proceeds from cocaine sales to buy high-power weapons on the black market.

Both the police and military have a long history of colluding with drug traffickers in Peru. In the early 1990s, the Army used to charge about $20,000 for every planeload of cocaine that left the airbase in Uchiza, reports the New York Times. Generally speaking, the Peruvian security forces have attempted to combat the Shining Path even while continuing to allow drug traffickers in operate in the VRAE and the Upper Huallaga.

As noted by a U.S. State Department cable released by WikiLeaks, the payoffs from the cocaine trade are far too profitable for the military to consider seriously pacifying the VRAE region, even if this means that the Shining Path continue to gain strength here.

Complicating things is the fact that police collusion with the drug trade, especially in the VRAE, is rarely punished. Of the 11officers charged with drug trafficking in 2010, reports La Republica, only one has been suspended from the force. The rest remain on active duty as the official investigation drags along. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCA / 11 JUN 2021

In arguably the most polarizing election Peru has seen in its history, voters have selected, by a razor-thin margin, a…

COCA / 17 MAY 2022

A government proposal for Peru to purchase all the country’s coca production has generated fierce debate, but experts question whether…

BRAZIL / 5 SEP 2022

Brazil's city of Rio de Janeiro is suffering a major security crisis, as gender and religion affect organized crime in…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…