Police seize 300 kilos of cocaine in Lima’s largest port, Callao

Peruvian drug enforcement police seized  300 kilos of cocaine stashed in six black suitcases on Sunday as it was being prepared for shipment in a large metal container from Peru’s Callao port to Belgium.

One person was arrested.

According to Peru’s National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs, or Devida, 80 percent of Peru-produced cocaine is trafficked via the Andean country’s ports to Europe and the United States.

Peru was once the world’s leading producer of coca. But the country slashed its production by 70 percent between 1995 and 2001 primarily because of low coca prices, interdiction, forced eradication of coca fields and programs to en-courage farmers grow alternative crops.

But by 2002, the number of hectares used to illegally grow coca in Peru increased as efforts to eradicate the crop in Colombia forced production southward.

This can be explained by the balloon effect, or the drug fields’ tendency to shift elsewhere and sometimes to smaller and harder-to-reach plots in response to local eradication campaigns, and the fact that for farmers, the coca harvest provides more money than any other crop: up to five times as much can be earned for a kilogram of coca than for a kilogram of coffee.

In June 2008, a study conducted by Peru’s National Commission for the Development of Life without Drugs, or Devida, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime indicated that coca crops had increased by 4.5 percent in 2007 and that approximately 92 percent of Peruvian coca production is destined for the fabrication of cocaine paste and cocaine hydrochloride.

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