HomeNewsBriefColombia's FARC Profit from Illegal Gold Mining in Peru
BRIEF

Colombia's FARC Profit from Illegal Gold Mining in Peru

FARC / 3 DEC 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

A journalist in Peru has reported that Colombia's FARC guerrillas are profiting from the illegal gold trade inside Peru, underscoring the rebels' cross-border activities and their deep involvement in the lucrative illegal mining business. 

According to reports by Cecilia Valenzuela in El Comercio and in television program Mira Quien Habla (see video), an alliance has existed between the 63rd Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Peruvian illegal miners operating along the Putumayo River -- which divides Colombia and Peru -- for at least three years.

Octavio Ortiz Ramirez, alias "Wilmer El Burro," the head of the 63rd Front of the FARC's Southern Bloc, charges the Peruvian miners for protection services and logistical support, she reported.

Colombian police have identified the Colombian national Jair Manrique Pedroza as the top buyer of illegal gold from this region, according to Valenzuela. El Tiempo reported that Colombian police have also identified the people who serve as go-betweens for the FARC leaders, gold miners and buyers.

Some 3,000 grams of gold are reportedly extracted in this border region each month, with each gram worth around $30, making a total of $90,000. 

InSight Crime Analysis

This alleged movement of the FARC into Peru's gold trade in part speaks to the profits to be gleaned from the business. Illegal gold mining in Peru is worth an estimated $3 billion a year -- more than double the estimated value of the drug trade. The FARC already have significant experience in this illicit industry in their home country, taxing mining operations and even exerting control over the extraction process in mineral-rich provinces like Antioquia and Choco

SEE ALSO: FARC News and Profile

A similar phenomenon has been reported in Venezuela's gold trade. Sources in Venezuela told InSight Crime they had seen direct FARC involvement in gold mining in the southern Venezuelan province of Amazonas, with the guerrillas offering protection and controlling extraction. 

The rebels have become increasingly concentrated in Colombia's border regions due to pressure from Colombia's military in the center of the country, as noted in a report (pdf) by the Fundacion Ideas para la Paz (FIP). The area inside the Venezuelan border is already an important safe haven and operational base for the group, and there have been previous reports of a FARC presence in Peru as well. In 2008, Caretas magazine accessed official documents that indicated some 1,500 hectares of Peruvian coca were controlled by the FARC, and that members of the guerrilla group had been detected in Peru as far back as 1989.

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

ALFONSO CANO / 4 JUL 2011

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos has revealed that the leader of the FARC rebel group recently narrowly avoided…

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 22 JUN 2016

A new report documents 2015 as the worst year on record for murders of land and environmental defenders. Latin American…

PERU / 19 JUL 2012

Although Peru's Postal Service claims that a crackdown on drug trafficking through the mail has been effective, traffickers are still…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…