Peru Captures Drug Kingpin in Tri-Border Area, Accused of 200 Killings

Peruvian and Brazilian counter-narcotics police captured a drug kingpin operating in Peru’s northern border area with Brazil who authorities believe was responsible for some 200 murders, according to RPP radio.

The head of Peru’s anti-drugs police, Vicente Romero, said the “most important” aspect of the operation was the capture of Jesus Ardela, known as Chibolo.

Ardela was one of the leaders of the drug trade on Peru’s tri-border area with Brazil and Colombia. Police officers suspect that he was responsible for the killing of a Peruvian police officer and two Brazilian Federal Police officers in 2008.

Romero said police also believe Ardela was responsible for the murders of 200 people, kidnappings, assaults and other crimes. “He has a violent and bloody profile,” Romero said.

Authorities also destroyed 28 drug labs —rustic maceration pits and facilities to turn coca base into cocaine— and confiscated tons of coca leaves and the chemicals used to turn them into cocaine, including lime, kerosene or gasoline, and sulphuric acid.

Coca production in Peru’s tri-border area, which includes the town of Caballacocha, has surged in recent years, as drug traffickers —including many from Colombia, fleeing from their country’s successful campaign against cocaine production—  have developed ways to grow coca in the Amazon plains and take advantage of a lack of state presence.

Coca is generally grown in the high jungle regions such as the Upper Huallaga Valley and the Apurimac and Ene river valleys.

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