HomeNewsBrief'Peru Could Become a Narco-State': Official
BRIEF

'Peru Could Become a Narco-State': Official

ELITES AND CRIME / 27 APR 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A high-level government official has said Peru is at risk of becoming a narco-state, a questionable claim that nevertheless reflects the apparent deep penetration of drug trafficking groups into the country's politics.

In an interview with newspaper Peru21, Congresswoman Rosa Mavila said that drug planes move about 1.5 tons of cocaine out of Peru's coca-growing hub -- a region known as the VRAEM -- every day. "You can understand why this might merit the label 'narco-state,'" she said. 

Mavila heads a congressional commission that investigates links between politicians and organized crime. In later comments in the same interview, she clarified that she does not think that Peru is currently a narco-state, but is at risk of becoming one in the future. Politicians are typically co-opted by organized crime at a local rather than national level, she added. 

She also observed that one of the strongest indications of a narco-politics nexus in Peru is the disappearance of court documents in cases involving suspected drug traffickers, as well as lengthy delays in the justice system. "That's how networks of corruption for bribery are created," she said.  

InSight Crime Analysis

Mavila is arguably overstating Peru's potential to become a narco-state -- there is no set definition for the term, but is typically used to describe countries where rule of law has been almost totally supplanted by transnational criminal groups. The fact that a large amount of drugs are being produced in and smuggled out of the VRAEM isn't, by itself, enough to merit the "narco-state" label, as Mavila implied. 

But it is also true that drug trafficking groups are well positioned to subvert Peru's political institutions. In August 2014, Peru's Interior Minister Daniel Urresti said no less than 115 candidates running for political office at the local or regional level have been investigated in drug trafficking cases. Last December, Peru elected at least six governors who had previously faced investigations for drug trafficking, corruption or money laundering. Another 350 candidates for municipal office were barred from running due to their criminal records. 

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profiles

Contrary to what Mavila claimed, corruption appears to be endemic at the national level as well. Prosecutors recently reopened an investigation into Peru's First Lady and president of the Nationalist Party, Nadine Heredia, for money laundering. Meanwhile, former President Alberto Fujimori is in prison for human rights abuses and embezzlement, while another, Alan Garcia, is facing a possible indictment for selling "narco-pardons." In September 2014, Congress approved bringing charges against a third former head of state, Alejandro Toledo, for money laundering and criminal conspiracy.

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

CHILE / 25 AUG 2021

A series of seizures and drug raids across Latin America have revealed how previously niche high-strength marijuana products are establishing…

COLOMBIA / 18 AUG 2021

Seizures of coltan in Colombia have shown the complex networks used by armed groups to smuggle the valuable mineral from…

CACHIROS / 15 MAR 2021

Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández once again stole the limelight in a major drug trafficking trial in the United States,…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…