Peru Destroys Massive Marijuana Crop, Pointing to Possible Rise in Cultivation

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In a two-day operation, Peruvian authorities destroyed 34,000 marijuana plants, reflecting a trend of increased seizures and destruction of the drug crop in the country in recent years.

Twenty officers from Peru’s National Police destroyed the crops, which were nearly ready for harvest. They made a long hike to reach the fields in a remote jungle region in Chinchao, Huanuco, in central Peru, where they then spent the night.

Police sources told Diario Correo that marijuana crops in the area are grown by locals, who are given money and seeds by drug traffickers.

InSight Crime Analysis

The 2012 United Nations World Drug Report does not list Peru as a major producer of marijuana, but some reports indicate that marijuana production has been slowly rising there in the past decade.

The International Narcotics Control Board’s (INCB) 2011 annual report called on the government of Peru to investigate a trend of increased seizures of cannabis herb, which nearly doubled between 2009 and 2010. It also discovered that in 2009, seizures of marijuana plants rose to 137.5 tons, a nearly six-fold increase in four years.

The US State Department’s 2012 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report put Peru’s marijuana seizures at 3 tons, slightly lower than the 3.4 tons reported the year before, but still a markedly higher rate than the 1.8 metric tons seized in 2010.

These numbers do not necessarily reflect increased marijuana production in Peru, however. The 2011 INCB report points out that the total area of marijuana cultivation in the country is unknown and that with coca cultivation on the rise there, it is unlikely that serious law enforcement resources will be committed to combating what is still a comparatively minor issue for Peru.

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