US embassy cable - 05LIMA1171 (original version)

PERU: MULTI-TON COCAINE SEIZURES IN THE FIRST TWO MONTHS OF 2005 (original version)

Identifier: 05LIMA1171
Wikileaks: View 05LIMA1171 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Lima
Created: 2005-03-08 22:43:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: SNAR EAID PGOV PREL PE
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LIMA 001171 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR INL/LP, WHA/AND 
DEPT FOR ONDCP FOR D. GETTINGS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/08/2015 
TAGS: SNAR, EAID, PGOV, PREL, PE 
SUBJECT: PERU: MULTI-TON COCAINE SEIZURES IN THE FIRST TWO 
MONTHS OF 2005 
 
REF: A. LIMA 138 B. LIMA 230 C. LIMA 658 D. LIMA 773 
     E. LIMA 971 F. LIMA 1015 
 
Classified By: CLASSIFIED BY J. CURTIS STRUBLE, AMBASSADOR, 
REASON 1.4 B AND D 
 
1. (C)  BEGIN SUMMARY:  In the first two months of 2005, the 
Peruvian National Police (PNP), supported by DEA's Lima 
Country Office (LCO), have tracked and seized record-breaking 
amounts of cocaine HCL/base - close to 5 metric tons - 
compared to 7.11 metric tons of cocaine HCL in the whole of 
2004.  These intelligence-based seizures (reported in 
reftels) show intense involvement of Mexican and Colombian 
operations/cartels in the Peru drug market, bypassing 
Colombia as a source or transshipment point.  It also shows 
the preference of these groups for large maritime shipments 
of cocaine, concealed in commercial cargo.   END SUMMARY 
 
-------------- 
THE OPERATIONS 
-------------- 
2.  (C)  The Potato Case:  LIMA 138 
On January 5 in Lima, an LCO-sponsored PNP Special 
Investigative Unit (SIU) seized 326 kgs of cocaine HCL 
bricks, wrapped in brown tape and concealed in a cargo of 
potatoes, that originated from the VRAE (Apurimac/Ene River 
Valley), one of Peru's source zones for coca cultivation. 
Intelligence sources indicated that the cocaine was going to 
be trucked to the port of Guayaquil, Ecuador.  Six Peruvian 
nationals were arrested; subsequently 3 Colombian nationals 
were arrested in Ayacucho in connection with the case (no 
specific Colombian organization has been identified). 
 
3.  (C)  The Hollow Wood Case:  LIMA 230 
On January 8, joint LCO and PNP-SIU anti-narcotics maritime 
units, along with Peruvian Customs, stopped almost 200 kgs of 
cocaine HCL from entering the U.S.   The cocaine was 
concealed inside hollowed-out lumber, surgically glued back 
together, in a commercial wood shipment destined to leave the 
Port of Iquitos for Port Everglades, Florida.  Seven Peruvian 
nationals, associated with Mexican-based trafficking 
organization Ismael Zambarra Garcia, were subsequently 
arrested (for further developments see paragraph 9). 
 
4.  (C)  The Tupperware Case:  LIMA 658 
On February 2, police discovered 813 kgs of cocaine HCL in 
tupperware-type plastic containers about to be shipped, 
possibly to Europe/Russia, from the Port of Callao (Lima).  A 
British Customs/LCO/PNP team coordinated this 5-month 
investigation to make the seizure.  Two Peruvians were 
immediately arrested; two Mexican nationals were arrested the 
same day attempting to board a flight to Mexico. 
 
5.  (C)  The Tanker Case:  LIMA 1015 
On February 9 and 10, LCO and PNP, with the assistance of 
NAS, seized 1.2 metric tons of cocaine HCL concealed in an 
ISO tank (a maritime container used for transporting liquid). 
PNP officers detained the container in a PNP compound as it 
was being trucked to the Port of Callao, with a U.S. 
destination.  Members of the PNP and NAS entered the tank and 
discovered a false lining/compartments in the front of the 
tank.  Retired USCG Chief Petty Officer Bryan Tuttle, NAS's 
Deputy Port Security officer, began cutting into the false 
compartment; an explosion resulted, tragically killing 
officer Tuttle.  The PNP arrested 13 Peruvian nationals 
connected to this case in the coastal cities of Lima, Huacho, 
Sullana and the coca source zone of Tingo Maria; more arrests 
are pending. 
 
6.  (C)  The Pan-American Highway Case:  LIMA 773 
On February 11, LCO and PNP/SIU seized about 140 kgs of 
washed cocaine base concealed in a truck, and arrested 3 
Peruvian nationals at KM 65 of the Old Pan-American Highway 
in Northern Peru near the Ecuadorian border.  Intelligence 
operations reported the cocaine had been collected in the 
VRAE and was en route to Mexico. 
 
7.  (C)  The Taxi Case:  LIMA 971 
On February 25, LCO/PNP operations resulted in the seizure of 
1 metric ton of cocaine HCL in bricks from a residence and a 
warehouse in Lima.  Fourteen of the 25 persons arrested were 
Colombian, 6 Mexican and 5 Peruvian - working for a Colombian 
drug trafficking organization led by Rowinson and Rowan Rios. 
 These Columbian brothers, residing in Peru, have been 
smuggling cocaine out of Peru to Spain for the past two years 
via Mexico.  The hero of this case was an undercover PNP 
policeman, posing as a taxi-driver, who persuaded one of the 
Rios brothers to enter his cab, then to hire him as his 
private chauffeur.  The policeman convinced the trafficker to 
conduct his negotiations and meetings in his vehicle, 
equipped by DEA with GPS and recording devices that 
documented every movement of the organization. 
 
8.  (C)  The Refrigerated Truck Case: 
On March 2, LCO and PNP seized 519 kgs of cocaine HCL linked 
to another shipment for export as containerized cargo from 
Lima to Mexico.  The 243 bricks, wrapped in beige tape, were 
unloaded from a conceal compartment in the roof of a 
refrigerated truck.  Two Peruvians were arrested. 
 
9.  (C)  The Tractor-Trailer Case: 
In further investigating the Hollow Wood case in Iquitos 
(para 3), SIU discovered that additional members of the 
Mexican trafficking group were coordinating a second shipment 
of cocaine from San Martin, a coca source zone, to the 
northern port of Lambayeque.  On March 2, as the 
tractor-trailer containing the cocaine HCL traveled north, 
the PNP conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle and seized an 
additional 430 kgs of cocaine HCL hidden in the walls.  The 
driver and his companion, both Peruvians, were arrested; 
investigation of this organization continues. 
 
10.  (C)  These improved results are directly related to 
DEA's decision to channel resources and prioritize 
investigations involving major drug trafficking organizations 
(DTOs). NAS has also concentrated Ports and Riverine Program 
resources on major maritime collection points.  These 
seizures indicate that DTO's are using commercial maritime 
shipments to move major loads out of Peru.  An area of 
ongoing interest will be the results of DEA's Special Testing 
Chemical Analysis of representative samples from each of 
these seizures to analyze its origin.  These multi-ton 
seizures may well come from increasing production of cocaine, 
resulting from expanding cultivation of coca in Peru. 
STRUBLE 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04