Sinaloa Cartel could be planting drugs in the luggage of passengers

A Mexican citizen arrested in April last year for carrying 28.6 pounds of cocaine said that the drug was "planted" by security elements at Lima airport.
In the last two years up to 44 pounds of drugs have been found in the luggage of passengers who are not part of criminal networks. (Photo: Reuters)
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The Sinaloa Cartel, headed by Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, is allegedly responsible for planting drugs in the luggage of passengers, an investigation started in 2014 by the Anti-Drug Special Operations Division of the National Police of Peru at Lima's International Airport revealed.

As part of the transnational investigations to combat drug trafficking in Peru and Mexico, the information obtained by Peruvian authorities was shared with Mexico's Attorney General's Office (PGR).

The investigation started after a Mexican citizen was arrested in April last year by customs agents for carrying 13 kilos (28.6 pounds) of cocaine before taking the flight back to Mexico. The Mexican citizen said to ministerial authorities that the drug was "planted" by the security elements working at Lima airport.

The accusation allowed Peruvian authorities to identify and arrest three officers of the customs division that worked for a drug trafficking organization linked to the Sinaloa Cartel, according to official documents.

After the incident, authorities fired all customs officers working at the airport to facilitate the investigations and prevent criminal activities from continuing.

Since 2008 Peru's National Police has arrested several people linked to the Sinaloa Cartel. In that year an employee of the company Lima Airport Partners (LAP) was arrested for trafficking cocaine.

According to the investigations, three associates of the Sinaloa Cartel remain at large. One of them is Percy Tomay, alias "Bigote", who has an arrest warrant; Raúl Marquina, identified as the alleged responsible for carrying drug shipments by air and Efraín Huaranga, alias "Keny", for processing and storing narcotics.

This week, EL UNIVERSAL presented an investigation conducted by staff of the Attorney General's Office in coordination with authorities from Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Brazil on cases of drugs planted in the luggage of Mexicans without their consent. In the last two years up to 20 kilos (44 pounds) of drugs have been found in the luggage of passengers who are not part of these criminal networks.

The PGR is investigating the possible participation of members of the Federal Police, the Tax Administration Service (SAT) and security companies that work at the two terminals of Mexico City international airport. Staff of LAN and Avianca airlines are also being investigated as the Mexicans arrested upon their arrival at Mexico City international airport traveled with these two airlines.


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