Official accusations over drug-linked copper mine raid


 Michiquillay mine

Proceedings have been started against suspected criminal bosses Mercedes Saucedo Ríos (alias “The Cat”) and Federico Sánchez Sánchez (alias “The Chemist”) in connection with an attack on the state-owned mining centre at Michiquillay.   Last August the mine, which Peru hopes to auction off to international bidders as a rich deposit of copper, gold and silver, was attacked by a group of heavily armed men.  A key aim of the raid seems to have been the theft of some 25 tons of precursor chemicals for cocaine production. Fires and explosions let off by the criminals caused heavy damage and the loss of mineral samples key to the sale of the mine, causing losses to the state estimated at US$42 million. Saucedo is also under financial investigation, as he indulges in an extravagant lifestyle without declared earnings.

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