Peru Postal System Used by Drug Trade

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Although Peru’s Postal Service claims that a crackdown on drug trafficking through the mail has been effective, traffickers are still able to transport drugs using the country’s mail system.

Infosurhoy.com reported that officials from the Peruvian Postal Service (Serpost) extolled its counter-narcotics procedures. The agency first detected concealed narcotics in packages moving through their facilities in 2005. A spokesperson for the agency said that, in response, over the years it has purged its workforce to eliminate criminal elements and reinforced inspection standards, passing each of the 5,000 daily international parcels through three X-ray machines to search for narcotics.

In addition, Serpost installed cameras to supervise workers and hired counter-narcotics agents and a special prosecutor to deal with the problem. The counter-narcotics agents use drug-sniffing dogs to detect hidden drugs.

In the first five months of 2012, 60 kilograms of cocaine were seized from parcels, the majority of which were destined for Spain.

InSight Crime Analysis

Traffickers use diverse methods to hide narcotics in parcels, including concealing them in jars of food and natural remedies. They also submerge clothing and blankets in liquid cocaine, to absorb the drug. This is an increasingly popular method of hiding cocaine from X-ray and ultrasound machines.

Despite Serpost’s efforts to combat the movement of drugs through their centers, the combination of high volumes of traffic and changing methods of camouflaging drugs make it difficult to combat the trade. Six postal workers and a customs official were arrested between 2007 and 2010 for involvement in conspiracies to traffic drugs through Serpost.

In addition, tracing packages back to their original source is often nearly impossible. One trafficker, Segundo Mirando Ordoñez, who was arrested in 2009 for mailing cocaine to Spain, continued to operate a mail smuggling ring out of a prison for two years, hiring postal workers to participate in an elaborate scheme to move the drug to the US and Europe. Last September, a former officer from the Peruvian National Police was arrested for colluding with Mirando.

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