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Peru Cracks Down on Drugs in Wake of U.S. Resumption of Information-Sharing


February 1995

Officials in Peru are promising and acting to take greater steps to eradicate cocaine and opium production in their country (James Brooke, "Peru Combats Drug Traffic, Winning U.S. Team's Praise," The New York Times, Jan. 23, 1995, p. A2).

As was reported in last month's NewsBriefs, U.S. drug enforcement officials were satisfied that Peru was committed to ending drug production and trafficking in their country and resumed information-sharing operations with anti-drug forces there. The U.S. will now provide radar-tracking information on aircraft coming out of Peru. These operations were suspended on May 1, 1991 because the U.S. feared it would be culpable under international law if Peru used the information to shoot down one of the planes ("U.S. Will Resume Sharing Information with Colombia and Peru," NewsBriefs, Jan. 1995).

Officials in Peru announced that they had made the largest seizure of cocaine and opium ever in that country on Jan. 9. Three and a half tons of cocaine were taken and one of the largest trafficking groups was disbanded.

The seizure also revealed evidence of a problem that has been suspected for some time in Peru -- official corruption in the highest ranks of government. A datebook of one of the traffickers was among the evidence seized. It documented meetings and phone calls with the Vice Minister of the Interior and army officials. Currently four army generals are facing charges of aiding or protecting drug trafficking operations.

The seizures and indictments of high-level officials come at a good time for Peru. The Clinton administration has set a Mar. 1 deadline for Peru to demonstrate that they are cooperating with international anti-narcotics efforts.