Alleged Canadian drug trafficker wanted by DEA escapes Peruvian detention center

A jailed Canadian ex-cop facing charges for allegedly trafficking tons of cocaine into Mexico and California tricked some lackadaisical police guards this week, knocking one of them out cold, and escaping to the anger and dismay of drug enforcement officials in the U.S. Embassy who were in the process of arranging his extradition.

Jerry Enson Aines Turcotte, known locally as “Uncle Jerry,” escaped Monday from a low-security detention center adjacent to police barracks in Lima’s port of Callao after a guard reportedly gave him permission to take trash from his room to the curb outside. Turcotte threw police officer Miguel Ángel Inca Villapolo  to the ground and made his getaway, taking his passport (LJ453677) with him.

He waltzed through the Alipio Ponce police station unnoticed and “cool as a cucumber,” Caretas magazine reported.

Turcotte, 48, a former drug enforcement police officer in Canada, was arrested May 7 during a joint operation involving agents from Peru’s Police Anti-Drug Unit, or Dirandro, Interpol’s Lima office, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA.

“You’ve lost,” a policeman reporedly told Turcotte when he was arrested.

Charged with setting up a front fish export company in 2007 to ship more than a ton of cocaine from Peru to the U.S., daily La República reported, Turcotte was jailed in Lima’s maximum security Castro Castro prison.

Wanted in more than 188 countries for large-scale drug trafficking, Turcotte’s extradition was solicited by U.S. authorities after DEA agents tagged him as the visible head of an international drug cartel responsible for shipping tons of cocaine to Mexican cartels and into California.

Nonetheless, Judge Gustavo Alberto Real Macedo granted Turcotte house arrest on Sept. 12.

The alleged Canadian drug kingpin was released from the maximum security facility and taken to a poorly guarded detention “building” in Lima’s crowded and impoverished La Victoria district.

Then, Turoctte’s case was reevaluated Sept. 16, and because he was considered a flight risk, he was transferred to the Santa Barbara Transitory Center for Defendants, adjacent to the Alipio Ponce police barracks in Lima’s port of Callao.

Peru’s Dirandro has emitted a national alert for Turcotte, though authorities said it is likely he has already crossed over to neighboring Ecuador or Bolivia.

Daily La República reports that 119 other drug traffickers and gangsters are currently under house arrest in Lima, pending their extraditions to various countries around the world. Twenty-five are detained in the Santa Barbara Transitory Center for Defendants, from where Turcotte easily escaped.

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