Benedicto Jimenez, a police detective who became famous two decades ago with the capture of Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman, was sent yesterday to the maximum security prison of Piedras Gordas in north Lima, following his arrest in Arequipa on the weekend. He is being held in a protected section, away from other inmates and from possible outside contacts.
Jimenez, who had shaved off his signature moustache and dyed his hair, went into hiding three months ago when investigations led to his links to Rodolfo Orellana, the leader of a wide corruption network that includes police, magistrates and politicians. Jimenez is allegedly the law enforcement link in the operation —although retired, he has until now enjoyed widespread approval and acceptance as the ‘sheriff’ who got ‘Comrade Gonzalo.’
In 1992, after eleven years of dogged investigations by Jimenez and police colleague Marco Miyashiro, and 29 months with their team of detectives at the national intelligence office, GEIN, Abimael Guzman was found in a residential suburb of Lima, living above a private dance school.
Their careful investigation had meant filtering through piles of garbage (Guzman smoked Marlboro cigarettes and used medication for psoriasis), and the day of the capture they planned an afternoon barbecue in a neighboring house to gather the police team without suspicion.
Ironically, Jimenez’ greatest moment in the police force occurred 22 years ago last month.
The order for Jimenez’ arrest is for 18 months, to prevent flight risk while the investigations are ongoing.
The investigation into Rodolfo Orellana operations in money laundering, real estate trafficking, and pulling strings in a wide network of contacts, particularly in the Ancash region —the region’s president, Cesar Alvarez, is in prison on charges of corruption and possibly ordering the murder of at least two of his political contenders. The preliminary investigations also include links to the current Attorney General, his immediate predecessor, a state attorney and an advisor to the Magistrates Council, as well as two members of Congress.