An ex-congresswoman and coca activist accused of links to the Shining Path guerrillas in Peru has been caught on tape apparently discussing drug deals with an alleged trafficker.
Nancy Obregon, who sat in Congress from 2006 to 2011 and is part of the same political party as President Ollanta Humala, was arrested on terrorism and drug trafficking charges in July, along with eight other members of her family.
Peru's anti-drug police have now released incriminating recordings of Obregon and Omar Rafael Perris Garcia, who police believe to be an emissary of drug trafficking criminal clans in the Upper Huallaga Valley, reported El Comercio. In the tapes, the pair use shrouded language to discuss meetings, airplanes, landing strips, police movements and the export of "shapumba" -- a locally cultivated plant which has been grown in crop substitution programs in Peru.
Police also taped Obregon's son, Leonardo Chavez, using his mother's phone to discuss transport and prices for a "tonic of plaster" (una tonica de yeso) -- believed to be code for a ton of cocaine.
InSight Crime Analysis
Obregon is a major player among coca growers in the Upper Huallaga Valley -- one of the main coca growing regions in Peru -- and has been accused of assisting arrested Shining Path leader Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala, alias "Comrade Artemio."
SEE ALSO: InSight Crime's Shining Path profile
After Artemio's arrest, evidence gathered by police suggested the former congresswoman arranged for the rival Shining Path faction, which is mostly active in the VRAEM (Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro River Valley) region, to send fighters to the Upper Huallaga Valley to help coca growers halt eradication efforts.
Given Obregon's connections to coca growers and the Shining Path -- who are not drug traffickers themselves but charge taxes on drug shipments and act as regulators protecting farmers from criminal clans --, it is not surprising that she also appears to be more directly involved in the drug trade.
Obregon has yet to stand trial, but with the recordings backed up by testimonies from both Shining Path guerrillas and drug traffickers, according to prosecutors, the case does not look promising for the former congresswoman.