HomeNewsHow Important Is Peru’s Port of Callao for Cocaine Trade?
NEWS

How Important Is Peru’s Port of Callao for Cocaine Trade?

COCAINE / 12 JAN 2023 BY SCOTT MISTLER-FERGUSON EN

Despite not getting the same attention as major ports in Ecuador or Brazil, Peru's port of Callao, near the capital Lima, has remained a crucial launchpad for cocaine heading for international markets.

The latest seizure came when authorities seized some three tons of cocaine hydrochloride in a house just outside Callao, the Interior Ministry reported on January 7.

Last year, seizures came thick and fast. In December, a major Peruvian coffee producer issued an alert after it found one of its containers at Callao had cocaine hidden inside it. In November, around 100 kilograms of cocaine were found hidden inside a shipment of scrap metal bound for Chile.

SEE ALSO: GameChangers 2022: Drug Bonanza Amid Prohibition Challenges in 2023

And in June, authorities interdicted 2.2 tons of cocaine hidden in cans of asparagus and set to be shipped to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. In 2021, officials seized over eight tons of cocaine and cocaine base in Callao.

InSight Crime Analysis

The port of Callao has so far avoided the attention paid to ports in neighboring countries, such as Guayaquil in Ecuador, which has been devastated by gang violence, or Santos in Brazil, which has become the main exit point for cocaine headed to Europe.

But its overall importance to the international cocaine trade should not be ignored.

Alex Kouri, the former three-time mayor of Callao, told local media that the port of Callao handles almost 40% of Peru's total drug exports, mostly through cargo ships. He added that foreign mafias, including Mexican, Italian, Serbian, and Croatian drug traffickers, maintain a presence in Callao through alliances with local gangs.

Despite Callao being on the Pacific coast, most cocaine shipments made at the port have been destined for Europe, including Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain.

This would make Callao one of Latin America's key cocaine export points, especially since Peru is the second-largest producer of cocaine, after Colombia.

SEE ALSO: How Brazil's Port of Santos Became Cocaine's World Trade Center

Some experts remain doubtful about Callao’s current role but warn it could increase.

Javier Montana, a United Nations expert on port control and security, told InSight Crime that the amount of cocaine leaving through Callao remains modest. It handles less cocaine than Santos in Brazil, from where the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC), the country’s powerful drug trafficking gang, supplies Italy’s ‘Ndrangheta Mafia with vast amounts of cocaine, and Ecuador’s port of Guayaquil, which has seen extreme violence as gangs fight over control, according to the experts.

Nevertheless, they stressed that controlling cocaine exports out of Callao was a considerable plus for international drug traffickers.

Some action has been taken to improve security there. Since 2017, when Callao joined the global Container Control Program (CCP), run by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), over 15 tons of cocaine have been seized at the port, according to Montana.

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

COCAINE / 23 JUN 2021

In Ecuador’s coastal town of Posorja, boats are being set on fire and people are being killed, as this fishing…

BOLIVIA / 22 SEP 2021

A heist of Brazilian planes that were later discovered in Bolivia has offered a unique look into how drug planes…

BRAZIL / 20 FEB 2021

Drug traffickers engage in a creative game of hide and seek with coast guards and other security forces that board…

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…