Police raid cocaine lab, seize military weapons

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DIRANDRO officers working with Police Aviation in the Eastern Andes — archive photo 

Officers of the counter narcotics division of the Peruvian National Police (DIRANDRO) have confiscated a large quantity of military weapons and chemical supplies when they searched homes in Junin (Central Peru) that were being used to prepare base cocaine.According to police sources, the raids were the culmination of a lengthy intelligence operation using undercover agents, who succeeded in identifying two suspicious dwellings in the village of San Juan de Mantaro, district of San Martin de Pangoa, Satipo province [in the jungles of the eastern Andes, near major cocaine-producing areas].

The police engaged in a land operation with the support of four helicopters from the Police Aviation Division and in the presence of a representative of the Public Ministry Dr Tomás Infante Huayhua, the local provincial attorney.

On entering the first building police found a fixed-breech rifle, an FAL assault rifle, two UDI machine pistols, an MGP machine pistol (serial number 1411), two shotguns in a poor state of repair, 277 rounds of ammunition in several calibres, four booby traps, several ID documents and equipment to intercept police radio communications.

In a second raid on a nearby house, agents found 600kg of coca leaves [from which cocaine is refined], 20 gallons of kerosene, 10 gallons of ammonia, 5 gallons of sulphuric acid, 5 gallons of calcium oxide [quicklime] and one tonne of detritus, precursor chemicals used in the production of base cocaine, as well as a number of documents.

During the action officers came under fire from heavily armed criminals, who were camouflaged at the edge of the jungle and aboard a boat. Their attempts to foil the operation were frustrated, but the rainforest vegetation allowed them to escape uncaptured. No casualties have been reported.

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