HomeNewsBriefPeru Confronts Extortion of Construction Companies
BRIEF

Peru Confronts Extortion of Construction Companies

EXTORTION / 18 NOV 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Over the past month, Peru's police have reportedly dismantled seven criminal groups dedicated to extorting the construction sector, a sign that authorities are intent on confronting this growing, yet little-known problem. 

Three of the groups were dismantled on November 17, reported Andina. Fourteen suspects from a gang called "Los Malditos del Sur" -- including four heads of construction unions -- were captured in Cañete, just south of Lima. They are accused of extorting construction and real estate companies, creating front companies, and carrying out hired killings, reported El Comercio. Several members of two other extortion gangs that operated in and around Lima were also arrested.  

Days earlier, national police in the northern coastal province of La Libertad arrested 24 alleged members of "Los Cagaleches" and "Los Wilos," accused of extortion, hired killings, robbery, drug trafficking and money laundering. Their victims reportedly included construction companies, the transport sector and other local businesses. 

Two additional gangs involved in extorting construction companies were taken down recently in La Libertad and Cajamarca provinces. 

Extortion gangs have also been tied to recent incidents involving explosives, including one thrown at the house of a businessman in northern Peru and a grenade that injured an employee and two youths at a store in Lima. 

Interior Minister Daniel Urresti said the government was "intensifying" police operations directed against extortion gangs, reported El Comercio.

InSight Crime Analysis

With these successive police operations and Urresti's statement, it appears Peru is honing in on a highly damaging and growing criminal industry.

Last year, the head of Peru's criminal investigation unit (DIRINCRI) told InSight Crime that authorities were seeing an explosion of extortion-related activity directed primarily at the country's construction sector. As of July this year, construction companies just from Peru's northwest Piura region had filed 40 complaints of extortion in 2014, while the secretary general for Peru's construction workers' federation (FTCCP) claimed that around 60 groups dedicated to construction-sector extortion operate throughout the country. Authorities say that many of these extortion groups pretend to be informal trade unions.   

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Extortion

The construction sector is not the only target: transport sector extortion in the northwestern city of Trujillo is worth an estimated $4 million a year. 

Some of Peru's most sophisticated and well-organized criminal groups are extortion gangs, making the rise of new groups dedicated to this activity a particular concern. Many of these operations are also protected and assisted by corrupt police, complicating efforts to root them out.  

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

PERU / 2 JUN 2015

The US Treasury Department has designated Peru's Shining Path guerrilla group as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker, citing the group's…

PERU / 23 SEP 2019

A 400-page document by Peru's Shining Path guerrillas details the group's elaborate plans to increase drug trafficking operations and attacks…

CONTRABAND / 1 NOV 2018

A new report shows how sales of illegal alcohol in Latin America make for a booming contraband industry that is…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…