Peru: Criminality, including frequency, reporting of, and government response (2012-February 2015) [PER105079.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Common Crime Levels

A September 2014 report on homicides in Peru between 2011-2013, published by the Peruvian National Institute of Statistics and Information Technology (Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática , INEI), indicates that 1,617 violent deaths [translation] "associated with intentional criminal acts" occurred in 2011, 1,968 in 2012 and 2,013 in 2013 (Peru Sept. 2014, 7). The report also shows an increase in the homicide rate per 100,000 people, with 5.43 in 2011, 6.53 in 2012 and 6.61 in 2013 (ibid.). The five cities that have the highest number of violent deaths associated with [translation] "intentional criminal acts" in 2013 are Lima (547), Trujillo (193), Chimbote (83), Arequipa (53), and Chiclayo (44) (ibid., 10). The INEI website provides statistics from the Ministry of Interior on registered criminal offenses by type for 2013, which include theft (83,308), robbery (79,873), [translation] "violation of sexual freedom" (8,611), and fraud (4,435) (ibid. n.d.).

2. Coca Production and Drug Trafficking

Sources report that, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Peru has become the world's largest producer of coca leaves (IHS Global Insight 8 Sept. 2014; The Independent 26 Sept. 2013). However, an 11 June 2014 UNODC article on its 2013 national coca crop monitoring survey in Peru, produced in co-operation with the government of Peru, indicates that the cultivation of coca bushes decreased by 17.5 percent in 2013, with an approximate area of 49,800 hectares and an approximate output of 121,424 metric tons of sun-dried coca leaves (UN 11 June 2014). The article states that roughly 9,000 metric tons of the output are used "for the traditional practice of leaf-chewing, leaving some 112,242 metric tons for cocaine production and trafficking" (ibid.). Corroboration could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response

The UNODC article adds that out of a total of 13 departments where the cultivation of coca plants takes place, the departments of Cusco and Ayacucho have the highest coca cultivation rates, with 55.5 percent of the country's total production (ibid.). The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the "research and analysis division" of The Economist Group, a "sister company" of the Economist (EIU n.d.), reports that "[i]llegal coca production" is based in the Huallaga valley and in the valley of the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers (Valle de los Ríos Apurímac, Ene y Mantaro , VRAEM) region of Peru; from there, "coca is taken either to the coast for export through vessels bound for Central or North America, or it is flown out of the country towards Bolivia or Brazil" (EIU 9 Apr. 2014). According to Radio Programas del Perú (RPP), a Peruvian national radio network, the VRAEM region extends over the departments of Apurímac, Ayacucho, Cusco and Junín (RPP n.d.). Additional information on the regions where coca is cultivated could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

3. Criminal Groups and Organized Crime

Sources note the practice of extortion in Peru (Journalist 13 Feb. 2015; La República 11 Jan. 2015; IHS Global Insight 8 Sept. 2014). The EIU states that criminal groups are "active in extortion," and cites the Peruvian National Confederation of Private Companies(Confederación Nacional de Instituciones Empresariales Privadas , Confiep), which "estimates that around 500 businesses reported incidents of extortion in the first quarter of 2014" (EIU 9 Apr. 2014). La República , a newspaper published in Lima, reports that small and large businesses are targets of extortion (11 Jan. 2015). IHS Global Insight, an organization that provides economic and financial information on countries, regions and industries (IHS Global Insight n.d.), specifies that criminal gangs "have affected" construction, transport and retail businesses (IHS Global Insight 8 Sept. 2014).

Sources report that criminal groups are involved in drug trafficking (ibid.;La República 11 Jan. 2015). According to La República , criminal groups are also involved in kidnapping and human trafficking (ibid.). IHS Global Insight reports that criminal groups participate in "street-level criminal activities," such as theft and armed robbery (IHS Global Insight 8 Sept. 2014).

IHS Global Insight, in a September 2014 report, indicates that there has been a "proliferation of gangs," mainly in the northern coastal departments of Ancash, Chiclayo, Lambayeque and Piura, and Lima (ibid.). Similarly, in correspondence with the Research Directorate, a journalist who has written on crime in Peru for an American newspaper expressed the opinion that "there seems to be growing levels of criminal activity in northern Peru, in cities such as Trujillo and Chiclayo" (Journalist 13 Feb. 2015). La República reports that, according to the Peruvian National Police's Directorate of Criminal Investigations (Dirección de Investigación Criminal de la Policía Nacional del Peru ), [translation] "some of the most violent areas" can be found in the coastal region of Peru, including Piura, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Chimbote, North of Lima, Mala, Cañete, Chincha, Ica, and Tacna (11 Jan. 2015). IHS Global Insight reports that Peru's cocaine trade "facilitated" the expansion of domestic mafias in the areas of Trujillo, Chiclayo, and the VRAEM region (8 Sept. 2014). Sources indicate that a criminal group known as "Los Shaseros " is reportedly responsible for the shipment of chemical supplies to the cocaine growing region of the VRAEM (Perú.com 3 Nov. 2014; La República 3 Nov. 2014).

In a February 2014 report, IHS Global Insight indicates that organized crime syndicates that practice extortion in the departments of Áncash, La Libertad and Piura include the New Clan of the North (Nuevo Clan del Norte ), the Cross of Piura (La Cruz de Piura ), and the Gran Familia (IHS Global Insight 26 Feb. 2014). According to sources, Luz María Jiménez Mera, also known as "Lucha" [and "Doctora" (RPP 14 Jan. 2014)], is the alleged leader of the New Clan of the North (RPP 14 Jan. 2014; La República 10 Jan. 2014). La República reports that the criminal group is suspected of extorting transporters and quarry owners in the village of Santa Lucía de Ferreñafe, north of Chiclayo (ibid.).

4. Government Response
4.1 Security Forces

A 25 February 2013 Reuters article reporting on the killing of Luis Choy, "a prominent photojournalist for El Comercio ," a newspaper based in Lima, indicates that the incident prompted the government to increase the number of police officers in Lima by 1,000. Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

In a 2013 census on the police stations of the Peruvian National Police (Policía Nacional del Perú , PNP), the INEI indicates that there were 1,444 police stations in the country, with a total of 34,592 police officers (Peru Dec. 2014, 11). In contrast, the US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012 states that there are approximately 100,000 police officers in the PNP (US 19 Apr. 2013, 5). Country Reports 2013 notes that the PNP has approximately 108,000 police officers and is responsible for "all areas of law enforcement and internal security except in the VRAEM emergency zone, where the military is responsible for internal security" (ibid. 11 Mar. 2014, 7).

La República reports that in September 2014, the government extended a state of emergency in the VRAEM region by 60 days, allowing the armed forces to stay in charge of internal security in the area (19 Sept. 2014). According to sources, the government had previously announced extensions to the state of emergency in the VRAEM region: in September 2011 (US 7 June 2013, 15) and again in August 2012 (InSight Crime 8 Aug. 2012). Sources report that the VRAEM region has been under a state of emergency since 2003 (ibid.; PuntoEdu 15 June 2012).

The US Department of State's 2014International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) indicates that the Peruvian government increased its counter-narcotics budget from "[US] $220 million in 2012 to $256 million in 2013" (US Mar. 2014). The EIU notes that the counter-narcotics budget was increased to US$300 million in 2014 (9 Apr. 2014). Additional and corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

4.2 Drug Eradication and Seizures, and Drug-related Arrests

The Independent reports that Peru's National Anti-drug Strategy successfully destroyed 14,000 hectares of coca in the Alto Huallaga and Aguaytia regions in 2012 (The Independent 26 Sept. 2013). However, the newspaper states that Peru managed to reduce the overall coca production by "just" 3.4 percent in 2012, a "more modest" result than Colombia for the same period (ibid.). According to the UNODC, Peruvian authorities "eradicated over 23,900 [hectares] of coca crop [in 2013], up 68 percent from 2012," mostly in the Palcazú-Pichis-Pachitea area and the Monzón valley, where rates of expansion of the coca production are "the highest" and which "serve as key points for the production of illicit coca derivatives produced both locally and elsewhere" (UN 11 June 2014). Sources report that from January to November 2014, the government eradicated more than 27,800 hectares of coca (Peru 24 Nov. 2014; Perú21 23 Nov. 2014).

The Independent cites Flavio Mirella, the head of UNODC in Peru, as saying in September 2013 that after the February 2012 arrest of one of the leaders of the Maoist guerilla group Shining Path, who went by the alias "Artemio," "'the whole structure of the group was affected in the area of Alto Huallaga and the pressure Shining Path exerted on populations to grow coca was removed'," adding that the group had "'the ability to exert great pressure on local farmers'" in the VRAEM region (ibid.). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

According to sources, a Peruvian drug-trafficking group was arrested in March 2014 in Lima, where an operation between the Peruvian counter-narcotics police and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) led to a seizure of 626 kilograms of cocaine (EIU 9 Apr. 2014; El Nuevo Herald 1 Apr. 2014).

In September 2014, news reports indicated that Peru's law enforcement agencies seized 7.6 tons of cocaine in Trujillo and it was reported that the drugs were to be exported to European countries, such as Spain and Belgium (IHS Global Insight 8 Sept. 2014; Andean Air Mail & Peruvian Times 2 Sept. 2014). Both sources further noted that it was the largest drug seizure to date by authorities; the value of the drugs seized was estimated at US$300 million (ibid.; IHS Global Insight 8 Sept. 2014).

According to the Independent, Peru's National Anti-drug Strategy has programs to "provide farmers with alternative means of income from coffee, cocoa or palm oil" (The Independent 26 Sept. 2013). The US 2014 INCSR similarly indicates that in order to reduce illicit coca cultivation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has partnered with Peru to implement "alternative development projects" that promote farmer participation in the cacao, coffee, and palm oil industries in eradicated areas (US Mar. 2014).

4.3 Legislation

Sources report that Peru passed a new law on organized crime on 1 July 2014 (El Comercio 1 July 2014; IHS Global Insight 17 July 2014; Peru 1 July 2014). According to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of Peru, the Law Against Organized Crime, Law No. 30077 (Ley contra el Crimen Organizado - Ley Nº 30077 ), establishes a set of rules and procedures to detect, investigate and punish members or any person related to criminal organizations and to facilitate coordination between the National Police, prosecutors and the judiciary (ibid.). IHS Global Insight reports that the new law grants "law enforcement agencies new investigative powers" and introduces "tougher penalties for those involved in organized crime" (17 July 2014). According to the new law, leaders and funders of criminal organizations who use minors or weapons of war can be sentenced to up to 35 years in jail (Peru 2014, Art. 22d, g). Information on the implementation and the effectiveness of the law could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Andean Air Mail & Peruvian Times. 2 September 2014. "Peru's Historic Cocaine Bust Linked to Mexican Cartel." <> [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015]

Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). 9 April 2014. "Peru Politics: Domestic Criminal Groups Expand in Peru." (Factiva)

_____. N.d. "About Us." <> [Accessed 9 Mar. 2015]

El Comercio . 1 July 2014. "Lo que debes conocer de la nueva Ley contra Crimen Organizado ." <> [Accessed 17 Feb. 2015]

El Nuevo Herald . 1 April 2014. "Incautan en Perú bienes y drogas por un valor de $25 millones ." <> [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015]

IHS Global Insight. 8 September 2014. Diego Moya-Ocampos. "Record Cocaine Seizure Underlines Rise in Operations of Organised Crime Groups and Will Increase Scrutiny on Legitimate Exporters in Peru." (Factiva)

_____. 17 July 2014. Diego Moya-Ocampos. "Moderate Gains Expected from New Organised Crime Law in Peru, but Bribery Risks Set to Remain High." (Factiva)

_____. 26 February 2014. Laurence Allan. "Peruvian Gangs Increase Violence and Geographical Scope of Extortion Demands." (Factiva)

_____. N.d. "What We Do." <> [Accessed 9 Mar. 2015]

The Independent. 26 September 2013. Rakesh Ramchurn. "Peru Overtakes Colombia as World's Largest Coca Producer." <> [Accessed 20 Feb. 2015]

InSight Crime. 8 August 2012. Edward Fox. "Peru Extends State of Emergency in Shining Path Stronghold." <> [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015]

Journalist. 13 February 2015. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

La República . 11 January 2015. Óscar Chumpitaz C. "El creciente 'negocio' de las extorsiones tiene en zozobra a toda Barranca ." <> [Accessed 17 Feb. 2015]

_____. 3 November 2014. "Desarticulan mafia que desviaba insumos químicos a zonas cocaleras ." <> [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015]

_____. 19 September 2014. "Gobierno prolonga estado de emergencia en el Vraem y Echarate ." <> [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015]

_____. 10 January 2014. "Chiclayo: Policía capturó a integrante de 'El Nuevo Clan del Norte' ." <!foto1> [Accessed 26 Feb. 2015]

Peru. December 2014. Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI). Perú: II censo nacional de comisarías 2013. Resultados definitivos . < media/MenuRecursivo/publicaciones_digitales/Est/Lib1191/index.html> [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015]

_____. 24 November 2014. "Erradicaron más de 27 mil hectáreas de hoja de coca." El Peruano . <> [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015]

_____. September 2014. Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI). Homicidios en el Perú, contándolos uno a uno 2011-2013 . <> [Accessed 16 Feb. 2015]

_____. 1 July 2014. Presidencia del Consejo de Ministros. "René Cornejo: Ley contra el Crimen Organizado fortalece las acciones de inteligencia de la polícia." <> [Accessed 17 Feb. 2015]

_____. 2014. Ley contra el Crimen Organizado - Ley Nº 30077 . <> [Accessed 11 Feb. 2015]

_____. N.d. Ministerio del Interior, Dirección de Gestión en Tecnología de la Información y Comunicaciones. Denuncias de delito, según tipo, 2006-2013 . <> [Accessed 10 Feb. 2015]

Perú21 . 23 November 2014. "Devida: 'Se han erradicado más de 27 mil hectáreas de hoja de coca en 2014' ." <> [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015]

Perú.com . 3 November 2014. "Dirandro presentó cisternas con 60 toneladas de ácido sulfúrico ." <> [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015]

PuntoEdu, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Perú . 15 June 2012. "'Históricamente en el Perú el régimen de excepción se ha tendido a usar para la persecución política' ." <> [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015]

Radio Programas del Perú (RPP). 14 January 2014. "PNP inicia búsqueda de integrantes de la banda 'Nuevo Clan del Norte' ." <> [Accessed 26 Feb. 2015]

_____. N.d. "VRAEM." <> [Accessed 10 Mar. 2015]

Reuters. 25 February 2013. Terry Wade and Mitra Taj. "Murdered Journalist and Rising Crime Unnerve Peru." <> [Accessed 11 Feb. 2015]

United Nations (UN). 11 June 2014. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). "Marked Decline in Coca Plant Cultivation in Peru, According to 2013 UNODC Survey." <> [Accessed 19 Feb. 2015]

United States (US). 11 March 2014. Department of State. "Peru." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. <> [Accessed 12 Feb. 2015]

_____. March 2014. Department of State. "Peru." International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR). Vol. I: Drug and Chemical Control. <> [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015]

_____. 7 June 2013. Congressional Research Service.Peru in Brief: Political and Economic Conditions and Relations with the United States. By Maureen Taft-Morales. <> [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015]

_____. 19 April 2013. Department of State. "Peru." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. <> [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to contact the following individual and organizations were unsuccessful within the time constraints of this Response: Amnesty International; Centro de Investigación Drogas y Derechos Humanos ; Director, Latin American Studies Program, University of Oregon; Instituto Prensa y Sociedad ; IPSOS Peru; Peru – Comisión de Alto Nivel Anticorrupción, Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo y Vida sin Drogas .

Internet sites, including: Agence France-Presse ; Amnesty International; Associated Press; The Atlantic; Committee to Protect Journalists;; El Espectador; El País ; Freedom House; Globedia; Hein Online; Human Rights Watch; International Crisis Group; IRIN; Jane's Intelligence Review; Peur – Policía Nacional ; Peru This Week; UN – Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Refworld, ReliefWeb; US – Overseas Security Advisory Council; The Wall Street Journal.

Associated documents