HomeNewsBriefHow Organized Crime Corrupted Peru's Main Seaport
BRIEF

How Organized Crime Corrupted Peru's Main Seaport

PERU / 22 MAY 2015 BY LOREN RIESENFELD EN

A new report sheds light on how criminal groups coordinate with corrupt officials to smuggle hundreds of tons of cocaine out of Peru's principal seaport every year.

According to an investigation conducted by La Republica, criminal groups are able to smuggle drugs through Peru's major port in the city of Callao by bribing workers and other officials. One source quoted in the report -- a former drug trafficker -- said the port's security chief charges around $20,000 dollars for entry to the port, and longshoremen are paid at least $10 dollars per kilo of cocaine. 

The networks of corrupt port workers know to only load containers with cocaine once they have already passed a customs inspection, according to the drug trafficker interviewed by La Republica. If containers are selected for a second inspection, traffickers are typically notified by their customs contacts hours in advance. 

Furthermore, interdiction efforts at the port are hobbled by a lack of detection equipment like mobile scanners. Coupled with the criminal infiltration of police and customs agencies, this results in a situation in which authorities detect less than 20 percent of the cocaine that moves through Callao's port, reported La Republica. 

According to the former head of Peru's anti-drug police (Dirandro), 80 percent of the country's cocaine leaves through Callao and, to a lesser degree, the port in the northwestern city of Paita. With an estimated 320 tons of cocaine produced in Peru every year, according to Dirandro, this would mean 256 tons are trafficked through these two seaports.

However, Ricardo Soberon, the former head of the Devida, another anti-drug agency, told La Republica that he estimated only 120 tons of cocaine were smuggled out by sea every year, with 80 tons moving through Callao.

InSight Crime Analysis

While Callao is undoubtedly a major smuggling route, it is unlikely the port sees 80 percent of the country's cocaine traffic. In Peru's major coca growing region, the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro River Valleys (VRAEM), an estimated 200 to 240 tons of cocaine are transported every year using an air bridge that connects Peru to Brazil via Bolivia. One security expert told InSight Crime in 2014 that 90 percent of the cocaine produced in the VRAEM region is trafficked by air. 

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profiles

Still, the importance of seaports in the cocaine trade should not be underestimated. In Colombia, for example, a fight between rival criminal groups has erupted over control of the Pacific port of Buenaventura, where upwards of 250 tons of cocaine are smuggled out of the country each year. In Peru, a similar dynamic is taking root: drug gangs have begun fighting for the Callao port, a battle that has so far resulted in at least 26 homicides.

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.

Tags

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

CHILE / 16 NOV 2022

The capture of Tren de Aragua members will test if Peru and Chile’s prisons can hold this dangerous gang.

AUC / 30 AUG 2021

Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria was the pioneer in industrial-scale cocaine trafficking.

ELITES AND CRIME / 10 DEC 2021

Authorities in Peru have dismantled a criminal network involving at least two government ministries. The corruption case underscores weak government…

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,…