Coca eradication in Peru

Peru has overtaken Colombia as the world’s largest coca crop cultivator, reinforcing its position as the world's primary cocaine producer and highlighting the growing demand for the drug in Europe and regional markets.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) annual report "Peru: Cocaine Cultivation Monitoring 2012," more than 60,000 hectares of coca crops were cultivated in Peru in 2012, compared to 48,000 hectares in neighboring Colombia. Although coca cultivation decreased in both countries compared to the previous year, in Peru it only dropped by 3.4 percent, while Colombian cultivation fell by 25 percent.

As in neighboring Bolivia, Peru has a sizeable domestic demand for unprocessed coca leaves. However, according to the report, that demand could be met with less than 7,000 hectares of coca crop, suggesting that the vast majority of coca produced is destined for drug processing.

PeruCoca9912

InSight Crime Analysis

Peru's newfound position as the number one cultivator of coca reinforces its status as the world's primary producer of cocaine, a position it previously attained through growers' use of coca strains that produce a higher cocaine yield. Even without these advantages, Peru would likely remain the world's biggest cocaine supplier as interdiction rates are a fraction of those seen in Colombia.

The emergence of Peru as the world's main supplier has been boosted by changing consumption patterns. Most Peruvian cocaine is destined for consumption in Brazil and Argentina or export to Europe -- all markets that have grown substantially in recent years. In contrast, the US market has declined, but remains predominantly the domain of Colombian cocaine, which accounts for 95 percent of all imported product, according to US government estimates.

While cocaine production has been booming, prices have fallen to levels much lower than those seen in Peru's rivals, to the extent that much of the cocaine that arrives in Argentina and Brazil from Bolivia now originates in Peru.

The thriving cocaine sector has inevitably attracted the interests of international organized crime groups, and InSight Crime's field research in the country revealed the presence of Colombians, Mexicans and Russians. However, this has not yet led to growing violence, and Peru has yet to see the sort of criminal conflicts that still plague Colombia.

The Peruvian government has pledged to fight trafficking, announcing a hard-line anti-drug strategy in 2011. However, their efforts have yielded questionable results. Though authorities eradicated 12,000 hectares in the first half of 2013, it is unclear whether such efforts actually decrease the total cultivation area or if growers simply move elsewhere. 

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

The Fixer and El Salvador's Missed Opportunity

The Fixer and El Salvador's Missed Opportunity

In the photograph, they are both smiling. In the foreground, on the left hand side, a man in a short-sleeved buttoned white shirt, jeans and a metal watch, holds a bottle of water in his right hand. He laughs heartily. He is Herbert Saca. On the right...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...