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.  

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.

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 20 DEC 2012

Bolivia's anti-narcotics agency announced it has seized ten planes and destroyed 10 clandestine landing strips so far this year, indication…

DRUG POLICY / 7 FEB 2014

Honduras' new government has lauded increased arrests and drug seizures under the new president's hardline security policy, although reports that…

COCA / 29 MAY 2014

The government in Peru has fired its anti-narcotics chief in a surprise move that could signal a return to the…

Institutional Content

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …