Cablegate: Zevallos Sentenced 2o Years for Drug Trafficking

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



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: LIMA 5011

1. On 12/9 the First Criminal Court of Lima found
OFAC-designated Kingpin Fernando Zevallos guilty of drug
trafficking, money laundering, and the receipt of stolen
money. The court sentenced Zevallos to 20 years in prison
and froze his assets to repay civil penalties of 100 million
soles (approximately $30M USD.) The decision noted that the
rapid financial growth in Aerocontinente, the now defunct
airline of which Zevallos was President, was supported by
illegal funds. Zevallos has appealed the ruling to the
Supreme Court. Zevallos is also charged in a separate case
in an Iquitos court with drug trafficking and murder.

2. Eight other defendants were also found guilty of forming
part of the "Los Nortenos" international drug ring. Chief
among the other defendants was Herles Diaz Diaz sentenced to
30 years and Angel Penaloza Ortiz and Nelson and Ronald Diaz
Diaz each sentenced to 25 years.

3. Leading dailies "La Republica" and "El Comercio" released
on 12/14 copies of emails implicating various business
leaders, politicians, police and judges in requests for
favors from Aerocontinente in 2003 and 2004. The emails were
reportedly divulged to the papers by the secretary of Lupe
Zevallos, Fernando Zevallos' sister and titular head of
Aerocontinente. The Office of Control of Magistrates (OCMA),
the judiciary's internal disciplinary organ, on 12/14
initiated a preliminary investigation into judges receiving
free or discounted tickets and favors from Aerocontinente.
At the center of press reports of the OCMA investigation is
the alleged go-between, Ruth Monge de Tambini, currently
Chief Judge of the Fourth Criminal Court for Reserved Trials
in Lima, who was a defense attorney for Aerocontinente from
1997 to 2004.

4. Comment: The judicial ruling against Zevallos is a major
step forward in the fight against narcotrafficking, as well
as in the battle to establish judicial integrity. The arrest
(reftel) and prosecution of Zevallos is a result of extensive
efforts by Post, specifically DEA-Lima, in coordination with
Peruvian law enforcement and judicial authorities. These
efforts have been strongly complemented by PAS Lima, which
has worked to inform local and international reporting about
Zevallos' operations and counter the public image of an
honest and successful businessman which the now-convicted
trafficker had assiduously cultivated for over a decade. The
publication of the emails linking politicians, business
leaders, and judges with Zevallos placed additional helpful
pressure on the three judges deciding the case (Aldo
Figueroa, Juan Quispe, Marco Lizarraga.) End Comment.


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