Peru destroys 20 clandestine airstrips

Peru destroys 20 clandestine airstrips
# 20 December 2013 03:44 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. A special elite unit of the Peruvian armed forces has destroyed at least 20 hidden aircraft runways in the country, which were used to fly drugs out of the jungle to Bolivia and Brazil, APA reports quoting Press TV.

The operation was carried out by 224 security agents using five tons of explosives, 10 helicopters and five hovercrafts in the valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers, Joint Command chief, Adm. Jose Cueto, and national police chief, Gen. Jorge Flores, said Wednesday.

Military officials also destroyed 24 wells used to process coca leaves, the base ingredient for making cocaine.

The landing strips and wells were guarded by the Shining Path guerrilla group who work for drug traffickers, officials said.

According to officials, a total of 90 airstrips in the area have been destroyed so far this year.

The incident marks a series of drug related confrontations in Peru and other South American countries.

In August, two British women were arrested over charges of attempting to smuggle 12 kilograms of cocaine worth an estimated USD 2.3 million into Spain.

Authorities also recovered USD 4.6 million worth of cocaine from a British yacht last year.

Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia are now the world’s biggest coca leaf and cocaine producers, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

According to the US Drug Enforcement Agency, Peru is the world’s leading producer of cocaine.