|05LIMA2642||2005-06-14 14:33:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Lima|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS LIMA 002642
1. (SBU) Summary: On June 9, 2005, PNP DIRANDRO Special
Operations Group, aided by NAS helicopters, seized a major
cocaine HCL laboratory on the River Ene in the VRAE. At the
site, the Special Ops group found half a metric ton of
cocaine hcl along with 1 metric ton of cocaine base, as well
as 3 tons of precursor chemicals, several high caliber
weapons, and sophisticated equipment to manufacture cocaine.
Police estimate the laboratory complex had the capacity to
produce 3 tons of cocaine hcl on a weekly basis. Later that
evening, traffickers attempted to re-enter the laboratory,
resulting in a fire fight with the police. No injuries
resulted. The traffickers absconded, but the investigation
continues with arrests anticipated. The PNP will hold a
press conference in Lima June 10 to reveal this major
seizure. Their investigation links Colombian traffickers to
the operation of the laboratory. End Summary.
2. (SBU) Mid-day June 9, a NAS-supported DINANDRO Special
Operations Group swooped in via helicopter on a cocaine
laboratory near Puerto Ocopa, on the banks of the River Ene
(VRAE). The PNP team found a compound with 4 security posts
that covered an area of about 5 acres. It comprised 14 sound
structures constructed of wood, with corrugated iron roofs
covered by plastic and camoflagued by foliage to thwart
detection from the air, all connected by walkways. The
compound had a running water system with showers and flush
toilets. Electricity was provided by a 60 KW generator,
buried underground to muffle noise, capable of running a
small township. Inside one lab facility the police found 500
kilos of cocaine HCL and in another 1,000 kilos of cocaine
base. Three tons of essential chemicals were stored in
plastic garbage-cans. Some large evaporator tanks, used to
process acetone, apparently had been made on the site in one
of the 2 welding shops. Twenty micro-wave ovens stood in
rows along a shelf, along with other drying equipment used to
process cocaine. The police estimated that the laboratory
was capable of producing up to 3 tons of cocaine HCL a week.
3. (SBU) Weaponry left at the site included a Mini-14, 1
Gallil-type, an M-16, 22 rifles, a shotgun and a 38 Smith
Wesson. Police also found detonators and explosives, and 7.6
ammunition for an AK-47.
4. (SBU) In the mess hall, the police found a half-eaten
lunch spread out on a table, hurriedly abandoned at the
arrival of the helicopters. The fully equipped kitchen had
food supplies that could support 30 people for a month.
Separate male and female sleeping quarters were in neat
condition; on one bunk was a Spanish language magazine with
Osama Bin Laden on he cover (the headline: "Islamic leader or
5. (SBU) After separating out the drugs, the police
destroyed chemicals and moved to a base perimeter. During
the late evening hours of June 9, traffickers attempted to
re-enter the laboratory compound. A fire fight ensued with
the police, who repelled the traffickers with no injuries.
6. (SBU) On June 10, the PNP will do a press briefing on
the seizure of this significant laboratory. They have some
investigative leads. Our police contacts have told us they
hope to make some arrests shortly.
7. (SBU) Comment: The laboratory seized appears to be
quite a significant operation in the major coca "source zone"
of Peru. Various telltale indicators led police