Police prevent $1.6 billion of cocaine trafficked abroad in first months of 2008

Interior Minister Luis Alva Castro announced yesterday that Peruvian police have seized 5.5 tons and prevented another 14.5 tons of cocaine from being trafficked abroad with a street value at some $1.6 billion since the beginning of 2008.

Alva Castro said the 5.5 tons of cocaine were seized from various international crime organizations, daily La República reported. He added that authorities eradicated 2,000 hectares, or about 4,900 acres, of illegal coca leaf plantations and seized some 11.6 tons of chemicals that would have been used to manufacture 14.5 tons of cocaine.

Cocaine seizures have increased since 2006 and 2007 when police reportedly seized 3.6 tons and 2.9 tons of cocaine respectively.

The last major cocaine seizure was last Thursday in Peru’s northern Lambayeque Department, when police seized 1.5 tons cocaine destined for Spain. According to Agencia Andina, four Ecuadorean citizens were arrested in the operation.

Peru is the world’s second largest cocaine producer after Colombia. According to the 2007 UN World Drug Report, the country’s estimated cocaine producing potential was 280 metric tons in 2006.

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