HomeNewsBriefPeru Police Port Operation Shows Drug Trade Power Dynamics
BRIEF

Peru Police Port Operation Shows Drug Trade Power Dynamics

PERU / 22 JUN 2017 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

A massive police operation in Peru's principal drug port, Callao, has shed light on the workings of local cocaine trafficking networks and how they relate to the international brokers that ship Peruvian product abroad.

In the early hours of the morning on June 20, around 1,300 police and 60 prosecutors carried out simultaneous raids on 34 houses and seven prison cells targeting the "Kings of Shejo Port" (Los Reyes de Puerto Shejo), arresting at least 12 people and seizing 180 kilos of cocaine, reported El Comercio.

Police investigators told La Republica that the gang worked for the Andean Cartel (Cartel Andino), a transnational cocaine mafia comprised of traffickers from Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru.

According to La Republica's sources, this network is principally financed by an Ecuadorean, Pedro Bejarano Alvarado, alias "El Patrón," and directed by his Colombian lieutenant Carlos Ocampo.

Police believe the alleged leader of the "the Kings," Carlos MacDowell Villacorta, provided services to the Andean Cartel, guaranteeing the safe passage of cocaine loads through the port and onto departing cargo ships.

MacDowell appears to have inherited this mantle from the Barrio Kings, headed by Gerson Gálvez Calle, alias "Caracol," who was arrested in Medellín, Colombia in 2016.

According to some reports, MacDowell and Caracol were rivals fighting over control of Callao. However, police told La Republica that MacDowell had previously been Caracol's chief representative on the Callao streets, an account supported by InSight Crime's own investigations. 

The case against the kings is not limited to drug trafficking, but also involves money laundering and at least 23 murders, reported Peru21.

InSight Crime Analysis

The police operation in Callao shines a light on the drug trafficking dynamics in one of the main exit points for Peruvian cocaine.

The Kings' operation illustrates how Peruvian organized crime structures remain largely low-profile and relatively small clans, often family-based, that concentrate on their own particular link in the drug trafficking chain.

In coca growing regions, this may be the production of coca base, the processing of base into cocaine or its transport to dispatch points. In Callao, though, this involves the storage and consolidation of cocaine shipments, and using corrupt port contacts, or in some cases divers, to guarantee these loads make it onto cargo ships.

SEE ALSO: Peru News and Profiles

From this point on, Peru's cocaine is in the hands of the international traffickers -- like the Kings' alleged collaborators, the Andean Cartel -- that broker deals with importers and distributors such as Mexican cartels or the Italian mafia.

However, InSight Crime's investigations into the Peru drug trade revealed that such networks are often ad hoc alliances formed to move cocaine on a case-by-case basis, making it unclear whether the Andean Cartel should be considered a genuine trafficking organization or a loose network of international collaborators.

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 8 MAY 2015

Police in Peru have arrested a former Supreme Court judge for his alleged role in a billion-dollar criminal empire, highlighting…

PERU / 7 OCT 2011

Peru's government says there are some 13,000 members of youth gangs inside the country. But the situation can hardly be…

ELITES AND CRIME / 2 OCT 2014

The evidence suggests that Peru's upcoming local elections will be strongly influenced by drug trafficking, a phenomenon with a troubling…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…