HomeNewsBriefConstruction Site Extortion in Peru Shows Evolution of Local Org Crime
BRIEF

Construction Site Extortion in Peru Shows Evolution of Local Org Crime

EXTORTION / 21 JUL 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Peru is reportedly home to at least 60 criminal groups which extort the construction industry under the guise of trade unions, indicating the development and expansion of local organized crime.

According to the Secretary General of Peru's Federation of Construction Workers (FTCCP), Mario Huaman, up to 80 percent of Peru's 72 informal construction worker trade unions are cover-ups for extortion groups, reported La Republica.

The groups typically operate by demanding construction companies and workers pay extortion fees to allow construction to continue unhindered, often under the threat of death. According to Peru's Protection of Public Works Division (DIPROC), the extortion fees can vary between two and five percent of total construction costs, earning criminal groups up to $17,000 a month per construction site.

To combat this problem, Interior Minister Daniel Urresti said police officers had infiltrated the trade unions to determine which were dedicated to extortion, reported Prensa Latina. This facilitated the recent capture of the leader and various other members of "La Gran Familia Chinchana," a criminal organization operating in the southern city of Chincha.

The head of DIPROC, Jose Saavedra Ballon, stated that between 2010 and July 14, 2014, the institution disbanded 121 groups extorting the construction industry.

InSight Crime Analysis

The number of criminal groups extorting Peru's construction sector, and the apparently sophisticated tactics of some of these groups, is a sign of the evolution of local organized crime. In March, the president of Peru's National Confederation of Businessmen (Conaco) said there were 100 extortion gangs operating in capital city Lima alone, and that more than 500 businesses had been extorted nationwide in 2014.

General Cesar Cortijo, the director of Peru's Criminal Investigation Office (DIRINCRI), told InSight Crime last year that an increase in extortion -- especially in the construction sector -- was one of the country's most serious law enforcement problems. 

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profiles

One of Peru's most signficant national organized crime groups, La Gran Familia, was dedicated principally to extortion -- particularly of the construction industry -- and contract killings. In spite of past attempts to disband the group, remnants of La Gran Familia appear to remain active.

The growing sophistication of these local criminal groups poses a challenge to law enforcement, whose job is made more difficult by the involvement of corrupt officials of all ranks in illegal activity. In 2013, a police chief in northern Peru was arrested for working with El Nuevo Clan del Norte, which is thought to have largely taken over La Gran Familia's extortion operations.

There is a risk that these groups could also get involved in the drug trade, with Peru now the world's principal producer of cocaine.  If they do so, they could make the leap into transnational organized crime, allying themselves with Colombian or Mexican criminal syndicates.

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

CYBERCRIME / 1 OCT 2021

Cryptocurrencies were created to be the cutting edge of finance, allowing users to hold and exchange money independent of government…

BARRIO 18 / 30 JAN 2023

While thousands of gang members have been arrested in El Salvador, some may have moved their activities to Mexico.

BRAZIL / 4 MAY 2021

Brazil, Colombia and Peru have deployed their armies to fight deforestation and other crimes in the Amazon rainforest.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…