120 Peruvian police removed from cocaine producing region

The inspector general of the National Police is removing 120 police officers from the Apurímac and Ene river valleys, VRAE, where about 30 percent of Peru’s coca leaf, the raw material used to make cocaine, is harvested.

Sixty of the officers are suspected of drug trafficking while another 27 are accused of corruption, daily La Republic quoted Inspector General Luis Henríquez Palacios saying. The other 33 officers are being removed because they were stationed in the VRAE for five to eight years, while regulations permit cycles of no more than three years in the area.

Henríquez told La República the 60 officers are suspected of using police weapons during their days off to seize cocaine from drug traffickers and resell it to competing cartels. The officers have reportedly been transferred to other posts pending an investigation.

National Police Director General Octavio Salazar Miranda said: “the removal of the 120 officers from the VRAE is part of the total cleaning up of bad elements in the National Police.”

The inspector general’s decision follows the arrest of two police chiefs in separate operations in January. Captain Pedro Guzmán Ayma from the town of La Mar, in Ayacucho Department, and Captain Carlos Izaguirre, from the town of Quinua, in Huamanga Province, were arrested for reselling cocaine that they seized from drug traffickers. The cocaine reportedly originated from the VRAE.

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