Former Congresswoman Nancy Obregon is to be held in the maximum security woman’s prison in Chorrillos as she awaits a trail on charges that she has been running a cocaine trafficking organization, according to daily El Comercio.
Obregon’s lawyer, Pedro Gonzalez, said that the ex lawmaker will probably be held in the prison for at least six months.
Obregon was a well-known lawmaker who represented the San Martin region in 2006 to 2011 for President Ollanta Humala’s
Nationalist party. She has long defended the rights of coca growers but has consistently denied any involvement in drug production or trafficking.
However, in July she was arrested in a pre-dawn raid at her home in Lima’s Pueblo Libre district. She is accused of leading a drug trafficking gang that shipped cocaine from the Upper Huallaga Valley, one of Peru’s top coca growing regions, to Bolivia. From there, Peruvian cocaine is often sent to Brazil and other markets for consumption. Obregon is also accused of owning two coca maceration pits in San Martin and other drug-related businesses.
Obregon allegedly also had frequent contact with members of the Shining Path rebels, who provide protection to drug traffickers. She allegedly was recently negotiating thepossible involvement of rebels from the southern VRAEM valleys to move north to protect Upper Huallaga growers from the government’s new eradication efforts, following the arrest and disbandment of Shining Path rebels in the Upper Huallaga valleys.
During interrogation this week, Obregon has denied operating a coca collection center in the Monzon Valley, or having any links to the Shining Path in Ayacucho. She told the drug police squad, who have been tapping into her conversations for over a year, that she was chosen by President Humala and his wife Nadine to be a congressional candidate. Obregon was detained on at least two occasions prior to Humala’s election, but allegations could not be proven and she was released. Just over two years ago, however, she was asked to leave the party when the allegations became stronger.
“If we made a mistake, I will be the first to recognize it. I will offer the country my apologies if I was fooled,” said Daniel Abugattas, a leading member of the Gana Peru party and former president of Congress. ” Abugattas said the party had made “an enormous mistake” by not investigating into Obregon’s past. “We brought her to politics and she had our absolute support, and I backed her permanently, while she was in congress and afterwards too.”
She also had strong support from Ricardo Soberon, briefly head of the DeVida drug policy agency in 2011, who tried to implement a process of incorporating coca growers into the economy by creating strong opportunities for crop substitution and income generating alternatives —rather than just forced eradication. At the time of Obregon’s arrest, Soberon told Ideele Radio that it was up to the judge and Obregon’s attorney to prove their case. “If she is found criminally responsible, she will have to pay for the crimes.”
President Humala said Wednesday that the government would not get involved in the judicial process against Obregon. “We are hoping that the issue is resolved as soon as possible and that the truth comes out,” he said.