HomeNewsBriefFreed Drug Lord Slams Peru’s Presidential Front-runner
BRIEF

Freed Drug Lord Slams Peru's Presidential Front-runner

ELITES AND CRIME / 15 JAN 2016 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

A former drug kingpin has disparaged the frontrunner in Peru’s forthcoming presidential election for her familial ties to ex-President Alberto Fujimori, the latest twist in a campaign that has already been marred by allegations of corruption.

Demetrio Chávez Peñaherrera, alias “Vaticano,” criticized Keiko Fujimori, the 40 year-old daughter of Peru’s Alberto Fujimori, arguing that her father transformed the country into a "narco-state" between 1990 and 2000, reported Reuters. 

"A Keiko Fujimori government would be disastrous," Vaticano said. 

Vaticano, who is considered to be Peru's most prolific drug trafficker during the 1990s, made the comments shortly after being released from prison following a 22-year term. 

Vaticano also repeated specific allegations he had already made from prison in 2012. He claims to have bribed Fujimori’s notorious head of intelligence, Vladimir Montesinos, with $50,000 to secure safe passage for his light aircraft carrying coca base to Colombia, adding that Fujimori himself was aware of the deal. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Allegations of complicity in drug trafficking against Fujimori and Montesinos, both currently behind bars in Peru, are not new. As InSight Crime has reported, Pablo Escobar’s brother, Roberto, alleged that Montesinos accepted a $1 million donation for Fujimori’s first presidential campaign in 1990 and that he even visited the drug lord’s famed Napoles ranch in Colombia.

The timing of Vaticano’s comments are significant, however, as Peru is gearing up for the first round of presidential elections, which will be held in April. High-level corruption is a chronic problem in Peru, with two other former presidents and even the current head of state, Ollanta Humala, linked to criminal activity. Alejandro Toledo (2001-06) was accused in 2014 of money laundering, while Alan García (1985-90 and 2006-11) has faced government probes over allegations of illicit enrichment and involvement in illegal property dealings. Alarmingly, both men are candidates in this year’s election, with García fourth in the polls.

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profiles

Keiko Fujimori, who is leader of the right-wing party Fuerza Popular, has worked hard to distance herself from her father’s record and built support on a promise to crack down on crime. Her father's many convictions do not appear to have impacted Fujimori's campaign and many Peruvians would likely support the elder Fujimori's potential pardoning, according to Reuters.

Recent opinion polls put Fujimori well ahead of the 19 other candidates with a commanding 33 percent. She is not expected to win the 50 percent needed in the first round, however, and a run-off in June is likely. Her closest competitors are Cesar Acuña, a businessman-turned politician who was summoned to testify in a money laundering case in November 2015, and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, or “PPK,” a former prime minister and Princeton-educated economist.

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

ILLEGAL MINING / 17 SEP 2019

Peru has deployed drones to some of the country's remote areas to track illegal mining, but using the information to…

ELITES AND CRIME / 17 SEP 2018

The murder trial of environmental activist Berta Cáceres in Honduras could open a small window into the nexus between criminal…

DRUG POLICY / 23 JUN 2016

Security specialist Rubén Vargas called Peru's biggest coca hub a "time bomb" while discussing the failings of the outgoing administration's…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.