US embassy cable - 05LIMA1246 (original version)


Identifier: 05LIMA1246
Wikileaks: View 05LIMA1246 at
Origin: Embassy Lima
Created: 2005-03-14 21:05:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
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 03 LIMA 001246 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/14/2015 
REF: A. A. LIMA 0004 
     B. B. LIMA 579 
     C. C. QUITO 149 
Classified By: Classified by J. Curtis Struble, Ambassador, Reason 1.4 
(C) BEGIN SUMMARY:  In the first two months of 2005, the 
Mission concentrated its resources and efforts to implement 
its opium strategy set forth in REF A.  Working with the 
Peruvian police, the effort has resulted in eradication of 53 
hectares of poppy fields and a reinvigorated intelligence 
collection program.   Trips to Quito (REF C) and the Amazonas 
region (REF B) have spurred greater attention to collecting 
information on the emerging opium poppy industry in Peru and 
trafficking routes.  The Peruvian police are actively 
recruiting Peruvian government employees who live in or 
travel to opium growing to provide information on poppy 
cultivation and trafficking.  Plans are to reassess the 
Mission strategy in June and adjust our efforts accordingly. 
1.  (C) The Mission strategy to combat opium production and 
trafficking in Peru was laid out in REF A in January.  Since 
then, Embassy agencies including the Narcotics Affairs 
Section (NAS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and 
the Military Assistance Group (MAAG) have been aggressively 
pursing their elements of the strategy including eradication, 
interdiction, intelligence collection and regional 
2. (C) Collecting human intelligence is key to an effective 
eradication campaign.  The GOP acknowledges it has very few 
informants, and information that comes in does not have exact 
coordinates, so that there is a high degree of uncertainty. 
As an initial step, NAS has supported the formation of a PNP 
opium eradication task force.  Members include DIRANDRO 
Office of Intelligence (OINT), DIRANDRO operations, regional 
police offices (DIVANDRO) and anti-drug prosecutors in opium 
growing zones to develop and exploit human intelligence on 
poppy.   The OINT has planned a series of meetings with 
representatives of the Ministries of Education, Health and 
Agriculture in the regions of Cajamarca, Amazonas and San 
Martin to recruit their employees who travel or live in opium 
growing areas to provide information.   The OINT will also 
meet with regional and local political and law enforcement 
authorities to gain their cooperation.   DIRANDRO has also 
tasked PNP regional offices (DIVANDRO's) in suspect opium 
producing areas to concentrate their efforts in providing 
timely information on opium plantations.   DIRANDRO 
intelligence and operational officers will be assigned to 
selected DIVANDRO's to energize and supervise the production 
efforts.   All intelligence about opium acquired by DIRANDRO 
and DIVANDRO units is channeled through OINT for verification 
and mapping. 
------------------------ ------------------------- 
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3.  (C) Interdicting opium latex is a key part of our Mission 
strategy.  DEA has deployed its investigators to northern 
Peru as part of its Northern Border Initiative.  These agents 
are in regular contact with PNP counterparts responsible for 
the Loreto Department to coordinate investigative activities. 
  DEA plans to establish an undercover presence to identify 
individuals and organizations involved in latex trafficking. 
 Progress was made to start-up a drug hotline program.   The 
Mission Military Information Support Team (MIST) is providing 
publicity support for a rewards program tied to the hotline. 
They have developed a radio spot and posters that will be 
distributed in towns close to poppy growing zones and 
trafficking routes. 
4.  (SBU) Based on information from an informant, the PNP, 
with DEA support, seized 76.8 kilos of opium latex from 
Peruvian traffickers in city of Pucallpa on January 24.  The 
traffickers were not associated with any identifiable drug 
trafficking organization.  They did not have established 
buyers.  Samples were sent to DEA headquarters to test their 
purity and to compare them to samples of latex from other 
producer countries.  Current information suggests that all 
latex sold in Peru is destined for other countries where it 
will be processed into heroin although there is some evidence 
that morphine is being produced in Peru.  Demand for heroin 
in Peru is not evident. 
5.  (SBU) Regional cooperation on opium trafficking was 
addressed when Lima Country Team members met with their 
counterparts in Quito on January 18-19 to discuss areas of 
cooperation and coordination (REF C).  The meeting served to 
heighten awareness of nascent threat of opium latex 
trafficking in Peru and Southern Ecuador.  Both Embassies are 
mobilizing to gather more intelligence on this issue and to 
coordinate our efforts.  DEA and their police counterparts in 
both countries are organizing an officer-exchange program in 
Guayaquil and Piura.   DEA hosted a regional police meeting 
in Iquitos from Feb. 21- 24 attended by representatives from 
Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Venezuela and the 
U.S.  The main themes were international terrorism and 
illicit trafficking.   Although coca dominated the drug 
trafficking discussions, the expansion of poppy plantations 
in presentations by Colombia, Peru and Ecuador provided 
convincing evidence of an increase in latex trafficking and 
the nexus between subversive movements (FARC and Sendero 
Luminoso) and illicit trafficking.  Conference attendees 
signed a multilateral agreement to develop and implement an 
effective regional law enforcement collaborative program, 
with support from DEA. 
6.  (SBU) An Embassy group led by the DCM traveled in late 
January to the capital of Amazonas region to discuss opium 
trafficking with regional authorities (REF C).  The 
authorities acknowledged ongoing cultivation and trafficking 
but noted they have few resources to combat it.  NAS police 
advisor will travel to Cajamarca this month with his PNP 
counterpart to meet with local PNP officials to discuss their 
participation in opium poppy operations. 
7.  (SBU) On the eradication front, the PNP found and 
destroyed a total of 53 hectares of opium poppy from January 
1 to March 11.  These efforts include 10 hectares of opium in 
Yarowilca, Huanuco on January 28, 18 hectares in Cayern, 
Huanuco on March 1, and 25 hectares of opium poppy near Jaen, 
in Cajamarca on March 11.  The PNP is increasing the size of 
the NAS-funded Special Operations Group (GOES), the troops 
used to eradicate poppy, from the present twenty-five members 
to a total of sixty officers, tripling its operational 
capacity and enabling the unit to operate in different 
production areas simultaneously.   NAS will continue to 
provide logistic support to the PNP to eradicate poppy 
whenever it is found. 
8.  (SBU) Peruvian law requires the presence of an anti-drug 
prosecutor from the GOP Public Ministry for all drug 
operations carried out by the PNP.   The shortage of 
qualified prosecutors presents a potential bottleneck to 
mounting an increased number of counternarcotics operations 
in opium growing areas.   To overcome this shortfall, NAS is 
sponsoring a drug prosecutor's training program to prepare 
local and regional prosecutors in the northern areas of Peru 
to participate in anti-opium operations. 
9.  (SBU) We are counting on INL to provide aircraft better 
suited for this type of mission than the Cessna C208. 
Reconnaissance methods that require pilots to "eyeball" opium 
poppy fields are risky to the pilots and unreliable in 
locating fields.  Besides poor flying conditions in the 
mountains, pilots must fly at and above 13,000 feet because 
of high terrain and winds, while trying to identify poppy 
fields on mountainous slopes.  Timing of the deployment of 
INL aircraft is critical to success.  The window of 
opportunity to catch opium when it is in flower is in 
March-April and September-October.  Post has requested INL/A 
to send 2 reconnaissance aircraft to Peru in early April but 
this is not yet confirmed (REF D). 
10.  (SBU) CONCLUSION:  The basis of our efforts has to be 
better intelligence collection through the police, and this 
is where we will focus our efforts.  The Mission will 
continue  to actively implement our opium strategy  in the 
coming months even as we enter full swing into coca 
eradication and interdiction operations.   We plan to 
reassess our strategy in June, when we will refine our 
estimates of operational requirements and identify what 
additional resources might be needed. 

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