U.S. and Peruvian authorities say Peru is now a major producer of counterfeit bills, and may be attracting foreign money launderers.
According to a US Secret Service representative who spoke with BBC Mundo, Peru produces 17 percent of all counterfeit dollars in the United States. The US agency first detected counterfeit bills coming from this Andean nation in 2003.
Peru has surpassed Colombia, which was once responsible for 43 percent of the world’s counterfeit dollar supply. So far this year, Peruvian police have seized $17 million in false currency.
According to the director of the Peruvian National Police, Raul Salazar, the Quispe Rodriguez family is behind much of the counterfeiting in Peru. Although one of the family’s principal counterfeiters, Joel Quispe Rodriguez, was arrested last year, police believe that his younger brother, Raul Quispe Rodriguez, has continued operating. On August 2, Peruvian police seized $2.3 million dollars in counterfeit currency, which they believe was produced by the Quispe Rodriguez family. According to Salazar, the family planned to smuggle the fake bills into the US in tourist souvenirs.
InSight Crime Analysis
Peru’s production of quality counterfeit currency has attracted foreign organized crime, a police colonel with Peru’s anti-drug division told Peru21. On August 16, Peruvian authorities captured a Mexican national at Lima's international airport with $520,000 in fake bills. Police are investigating the man’s possible connection to the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel.
Distributing false currency can also be used as a method of money laundering for drug traffickers and other criminals. Peru's government vowed earlier this year to strike "heavy blows" against money launderers operating in the country after admitting that it had so far failed to produce convictions for the crime.