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Cablegate: Peru: Narcotics Affairs Section, August 2005

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 LIMA 004176



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/26/2015

REF: A. LIMA 3847
B. LIMA 3416
C. LIMA 3264
D. LIMA 3033
E. LIMA 2813
F. LIMA 2699

Classified By: NAS Deputy Director Robert Goldberg. Reason 1.5 (b),(d)


1. (SBU) Hostile crowds and random gunshots have not stopped
eradication efforts in Mazamari and the Huallaga in August.
Eradication continues despite having discovered improvised
explosive devices in the fields, rigged to explode when a
plant is uprooted. As of August 31, CORAH has eradicated a
total of 5,674 hectares, and the 8,000-hectare annual goal
now looks within reach. DIRANDRO is working out of the
NAS-constructed police base in Palmapampa to destroy
cocaine-base laboratories and seize precursor chemicals and
coca leaf in the Apurimac and Ene Valleys. The operation has
driven down the price of coca leaf and increased the
cost--and scarcity--of chemicals. USAID and CORAH are
developing a plan to educate farmers on the negative impact
growing coca has on their families. The Constitutional
Tribunal is expected to rule on the legality of the regional
coca ordinances in September; meanwhile, the new coca law the
GOP sent to Congress is stalled for the foreseeable future.
The new chemical control law remains in limbo due to GOP
gridlock. NAS Aviation provided crucial support after an
airliner crashed near Pucallpa Airport. The Manifest Review
Unit in Callao is now proving its worth in cocaine seizures
and intelligence. The final workshop on "Community Anti-Drug
Coalitions" trained NGOs in a new approach to community
intervention, evaluation, and sustainability. Meetings with
the Ministry of Education suggest a possible revival of a now
dormant Culture-of-Lawfulness initiative. (END SUMMARY)

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2. (C) On August 1 during eradication operations at Santa
Rosa de Mishollo, home territory of cocalero leader Nancy
Obregon, DIRANDRO security forces accidentally wounded a
17-year-old boy. The boy was flown by helicopter for medical
attention and later taken home. In another incident on
August 4, shots were fired into the CORAH/DIRANDRO camp. No
one was hurt. The PNP Special Operations Group (GOES)
arrested several people and seized some guns. Between August
27-31, a total of 9 improvised explosive devices (IED) were
found in fields during eradication operations in the Santa
Rosa area near Santa Lucia. The IEDs were placed at the root
of coca plants. A CORAH worker was hit and hospitalized when
he triggered an IED; his injures were not life threatening.
The rest of the devices were located and disarmed. Plans are
under way to use trained explosive-sniffing dogs to clear the
areas where CORAH plans to work. (See Ref A.)


3. (U) In the first eight months of 2005, CORAH eradicated
5,674 hectares of coca. Presently, CORAH is eradicating an
averaging of 50 hectares a day in areas near Santa Lucia and
Mazamari. Operations included communities in the San Martin
and Huanuco departments that had not complied with their
alternative development agreements with USAID. NAS and USAID
are coordinating closely on increasing the number of brigades
used for locating, measuring, and eradicating coca in
alternative development areas.

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4. (SBU) In May 2005, approximately 200 new police graduated
from the NAS-sponsored Basic Training Academies in Santa
Lucia and Mazamari. These new police were assigned to the
Special Operations Unit to support eradication, cocaine
laboratory destruction, and vehicle search operations.
DIRANDRO's Special Operations Units confronted unruly mobs
and pacified hostile areas in the Upper Huallaga Valley
(Pizana, Polvora and Santa Rosa) to allow eradication to
occur. Up to 300 police have been deployed to protect
eradication workers and helicopter operations. As a result,
the rate of coca eradication increased substantially and NAS
helicopters operated without incidents. The PNP also
destroyed 88 cocaine-base laboratories in the Monzon and
Upper Huallaga. This is in stark contrast to past when
eradication operations were suspended due to strong local
resistance and an inadequate response by the PNP.
5. (SBU) At NAS's suggestion, DIRANDRO is now using the
price of an arroba (11.5 kg) of coca to trigger cocaine-base
laboratory interdiction operations. Interdiction drives down
the price. The Police return to zones when arroba price rises
again. In early August, the price of an arroba of coca
dropped from 120 to 60 Soles after the PNP began operations
in the Apurimac and Ene River Valleys (VRAE). On August 10,
after a two-week lull in interdiction activities, an arroba
rose to 90 Soles. The next day, DIRANDRO started
interdiction operations again, seizing approximately 200
kilos of cocaine base. DIRANDRO also destroyed 208
cocaine-base laboratories and tons of precursor chemicals and
coca leaves, causing a loss to the laboratory operators of
the equivalent of US$1.4 million and the possible production
of 3.9 tons of cocaine base.

6. (SBU) With support from NAS, DIRANDRO formed a Mobile
Road Interdiction Group, which is using a gamma-ray machine
to inspect vehicles transiting through the Ayacucho area. On
August 1-8, this group arrested 4 traffickers and seized more
than 150 kilos of chemicals, three vehicles, and a building.
These seizures alone are valued at USD 137,000. The
activities of this group have forced drug traffickers to
transport chemicals via mules on back roads and via rivers,
causing the price of precursor chemicals to double.


7. (U) NAS has advised the Institute for Tropical Crops
(ICT) and CADA that they must survey farmers who are
receiving technical assistance in cacao management. The
survey will provide baseline information to ensure that the
farmers are eliminating their coca. The survey will take
three months to complete.

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8. (U) Discussions continue with USAID and CORAH about a
plan to educate farmers on the negative consequences for
their families of growing coca. The theme of this plan is
"Familia, Si" (Family, Yes).

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9. (U) Peru's Constitutional Tribunal has been asked to
rule on the constitutionality of ordinances promulgated by
three regional governments (Cusco, Puno, and Huanuco) that
would legalize coca (Refs B through F).


10. (SBU) Progress has stalled within the GOP to implement
the much-touted chemical-control law. The initial concept
was to place the data collection function in the Ministry of
Production (MinPro). However, as the MinPro does not have an
appropriate, networked data collection system, it would have
to be built, a costly project. A USG-funded NGO came up with
a better option--to use the Peruvian tax collection agency
(SUNAT) to collect and distribute the data, since it has the
technical capability and an extensive network. The challenge
is bringing MinPro and SUNAT together. MinPro wants to
maintain control over the information system.

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11. (U) On the afternoon of August 23, a Boeing 737-200
crashed during a storm about 4.4 miles short of the runway at
the Pucallpa airport. NAS flight crews, firemen, and medics
from the NAS Main Operating Base (MOB) in Pucallpa were
immediately mobilized to assist local authorities. The
aircraft (flight 204 of TANS airline, operated by the
Peruvian Air Force) broke in two when it crashed. The NAS
Forward Coordinator sent two helicopters to the crash site to
help evacuate the survivors to local hospitals and transport
the dead. (NOTE: 45 people died and 53 were injured. 3
Americans died, 7 survived. No USG employees or contractors
were aboard the flight.) The NAS helicopters, flown by US and
PNP pilots and crews, operated at the crash site at night
using night-vision equipment. NAS also provided logistical
support and a communications center for the Embassy response
effort as well as for the NTSB investigators and Peruvian
civil aviation authorities. The following day, NAS personnel
located the aircra
ft voice recorder.


12. (U) NAS pilots completed flight training for the Beech
1900 D aircraft on August 28. On September 1, the aircraft
will be flown to Air Wing (INL/A) in Florida for further crew
training and preparation for entry into Peru on September 16.


13. (SBU) On August 24, the PNP seized almost 479 kg of
cocaine from a container at a terminal in the Port of Callao
through manifest/cargo review and analysis by the NAS/DEA
Manifest Review Unit (MRU). Seven people from Mexico and
Peru were arrested. Contact information for people in
Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia was also seized. The 479
kg were being transported via a Chilean ship destined for
Guanajuato, Mexico via the Mexican port of Manzanillo. The
95 cocaine packages, each package weighing 5.4 kg, were found
in plastic barrels filled with frozen maracuya (passion
fruit) pulp. Based on this seizure, another container from
the same company/shippers and with the same product is now
detained at Callao.

14. (C) This seizure illustrates the value of systemized
analysis of cargo, and the importance of conducting joint
police and customs information analysis and follow-on
operations. The Peruvian private business sector, including
exporters, agents, and managers of container stations, know
about the MRU and are now providing over 100 intelligence
leads per month. An MRU is now being planned for Paita
(Peru's second leading port after Callao), in light of the
success in Callao. NAS is currently negotiating with
SUNAT-Customs on next steps.

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15. (U) On August 15-19, the U.S.-based Community Anti-Drug
Coalitions of America (CADCA) conducted a two-day workshop
followed by three days of technical assistance. Six NGOs
were selected to participate in this final training session,
which focused on community interventions, evaluation, and
sustainability. The NGOs and CADCA discussed the cultural
and social hurdles that must be overcome to have successful
coalitions. The technical assistance involved visits to the
coalition districts to speak with community leaders and to
understand the types of community resources available to the
NGO coalition teams. The coalitions will start on October 1,
along with other demand reduction programs.

16. (U) The coalition effort will include an evaluation team
and a communications team. The evaluation team will design
instruments to measure regularly the effectiveness of
individual activities and the overall impact of the
coalitions' efforts. All coalitions will be evaluated using
the same criteria and the same instruments by this external
team. The communications team will work with the coalition
teams to develop social marketing campaigns that have a
consistent message. Coalition communication activities will
consist of street fairs, local radio broadcasts, posters,
personal outreach, parades, etc., taking into account a
functional illiteracy rate of 80 per cent.

17. (U) While Peru is a developing country with a poverty
rate of over 50 per cent, the public will to combat illegal
drugs is already strong. Many Lima communities have
organized to fight crime, clean up neighborhoods, and take
drug dealers off the streets. All these efforts contribute
directly to reducing drug consumption. One goal of the
coalitions will be to bring together and foster cooperation
among these disparate groups.


18. (U) The Culture of Lawfulness (COL) program (started in
2003) had some early successes in training teachers for a
one-year COL course for first-year high school students. It
became quickly apparent that the Ministry of Education could
not provide much needed resources for the program. So far,
70 teachers have been trained to teach COL. One significant
achievement was assisting the GOP in changing the national
school curriculum to include COL (called Ethics, Values, and
Citizenship by the GOP). NAS Program officers met with the
Vice-Minister of Education, Idel Vexler, to discuss the
future of the program. Vexler was supportive of the program,
but said it needed to be more fully integrated into the
curriculum to achieve sustainability. NAS will meet with
ministry officials in the coming months to determine how NAS
can support further development of COL.

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