A political group that has close ties to the Shining Path insurgency allegedly received some 500,000 soles ($179,000) from a cell of the terrorist group involved in drug trafficking, according to newspaper El Comercio, citing an unnamed source.
On Thursday, police arrested about two dozen members of the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (Movadef), in Lima, in the central Andes of Ancash, and the southern Andean region of Puno.
Attorney General Jose Pelaez said that police expected to carry out more arrests “in an investigation that has taken more than two years” with a careful accumulation of “documentary proof” that is allowing the judiciary to detain the alleged criminals for nine months. More than 30 state attorneys are involved in presenting the charges, according to Pelaez.
The members of Movadef are accused of belonging to a terrorist organization and allegedly financing terrorism with money from drug trafficking. The group has been formed by people loyal to the Shining Path’s jailed founders, led by Abimael Guzman.
Movadef’s central proposal is to obtain amnesty for the Shining Path leaders and others who were responsible for initiating and carrying out the internal conflict in Peru, in the 1980s and 1990s, that claimed some 70,000 people lives.
Prosecutor Victor Cubas said that authorities found evidence of a relationship between Movadef and an active Shining Path group that operated in Peru’s Upper Huallaga Valley. That cell, which was broken up with the capture of its leader in 2012, is alleged to have been highly involved in the Huallaga Valley’s cocaine trade.
Cubas said that authorities found a “strong relationship between the terrorist organization [Shining Path] and Movadef,” according to El Comercio.
The newspaper reported unnamed sources from Peru’s anti-terrorism police office saying that informants had revealed that Movadef leaders Alfredo Crespo and Manuel Fajardo had met with the Shining Path’s leader in the Upper Huallaga Valley in 2008. One informant said that the Shining Path’s leader at the time, known as Artemio, provided Crespo and Fajardo with 100,000 soles in cash during a meeting.
The funds had allegedly come from drug trafficking and were used by Movadef to establish its offices throughout the country.
The informants said that Movadef spent 500,000 soles from the Shining Path’s Huallaga Valley cell to try and organize as a political party and participate in elections in 2011.
The movement had tried unsuccessfully to be admitted as a political party into the National Elections register. It has been working to build up a following in universities across the country, attracting students who have little information of what happened in the internal conflict, which began in the 1980s before they were born.
Alfredo Crespo, one of the Movadef leaders arrested this week, is known as the lawyer of Abimael Guzman, the founder of the Shining Path who was captured in 1992 and is now serving a life sentence in a maximum security facility at the Naval base in Callao.