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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05LIMA3983
2005-09-14 15:28:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Lima
Cable title:  

Eradication and Interdiction Program Status -

Tags:   SNAR  PE  KPRP 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LIMA 003983 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

PASS TO INL FOR J FARRAR; ONDCP FOR D GETTINGS; DEPT FOR
CNC; NSC FOR C BARTON; WHA FOR MONSERRATE

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: SNAR PE KPRP
SUBJECT: Eradication and Interdiction Program Status -
September 2005


-------------
Summary
-------------
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LIMA 003983

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

PASS TO INL FOR J FARRAR; ONDCP FOR D GETTINGS; DEPT FOR
CNC; NSC FOR C BARTON; WHA FOR MONSERRATE

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: SNAR PE KPRP
SUBJECT: Eradication and Interdiction Program Status -
September 2005


--------------
Summary
--------------

1. (SBU) With a backdrop of increased coca hectarage and
cocaine production in Peru, NAS is facing challenges to step
up eradication levels in a more conflictive environment.
There have been two distinct phases in eradication and
interdiction efforts this year. From January until the end
of May, active cocalero opposition held progress in the
field to low numbers of hectares eradicated. However,
since May, several changes, particularly the infusion of
trained and motivated DIRANDRO recruits and unified
operational control have discouraged active opposition and
have led to a nearly five-fold increase in hectares
eradicated and increased interdiction of drugs, coca leaf
and chemicals. End Summary.

--------------
Eradication January to May
--------------

2. (SBU) For the first five months of the year, when
confronted by rock-slinging cocaleros using quasi-military
tactics around eradication sites, the police backed off
causing a halt in operations. During this period, the PNP
were unprepared for violence, including the Sendero Luminoso
ambush on April 19 that damaged NAS helicopters, and other
rock-throwing attacks on the last unprotected helicopter
extracting the police from an eradication site. The damage
to 5 helicopters delayed operations and called for a review
of our security procedures. The resulting eradication for
these months was an average of only 248.63 hectares
eradicated per month.

--------------
Eradication May to the Present
--------------

3. (SBU) A second more productive phase was triggered by
the graduation of 200 police cadets from the NAS-sponsored
Training Academies in May. As per NAS guidance, all the new
police were assigned to one Special Operations Unit that
focused on support for eradication efforts, destruction of
cocaine laboratories and vehicle search operations. This
critical mass under a unified command now had the training
and motivation to confront and disperse mobs and make
arrests, allowing eradicators to stay in the field
overnight. Currently, approximately 300 police provide 24/7
protection to 500 eradicators and the supporting helicopter

assets. Another major improvement has been the
consolidation of all helicopters/operations under one police
colonel, allowing for more coordinated and efficient use of
aviation assets both for eradication and interdiction. This
has allowed the PNP to work on as many as five fronts
simultaneously. As a result, the average of hectares per
month has risen to 1191.82, an increase of 479%.

--------------
Interdiction
--------------

4. (SBU) Interdiction efforts are taking place on two
fronts. In both the VRAE and Upper Huallaga/Monzon Valleys,
police have been staging interdiction operations that have
resulted in the destruction of more than 300 base cocaine
laboratories and ton quantities of essential chemicals with
an estimated value of nearly 2 million dollars, keeping an
estimated 4 tons of cocaine off the market. In the VRAE,
a Mobile Road Interdiction Group has been using a gamma-ray
machine that identifies chemicals used in processing coca
leaf into cocaine base. To date the Group has intercepted
150 kilos of chemicals and several vehicles, but, more
significantly, their presence on a major drug highway has
caused disruption and a major fluctuation in prices. As a
result of these efforts, the cost of the chemicals has
doubled while the price of coca leaves has dropped by half.
Drug traffickers have been forced to transport chemicals via
mules on back roads and via rivers.


5. (SBU) A further example of the more dangerous security
environment occurred August 27 when a DIRANDRO based Special
Operations Unit was destroying a cocaine lab, with our
helicopter support, near the NAS-constructed base at Palma
Pampa in the VRAE. Police received fire from automatic
weapons, requiring them to shoot back. The attackers
retreated and no injuries were reported. Police resolve has
not been affected.
--------------
Upcoming Challenges
--------------


6. (SBU) Counter-narcotics operations will, by necessity,
take place in areas where we anticipate resistance. In late
September, the eradication operations will move to San
Gaban, where last year's unexpected resistance hobbled
operations. We understand that the local population is
aware that CORAH is coming and are somewhat resigned to the
eradication. The police will use the strategy developed
after the difficult operation in San Gaban last year: soften
the areas through interdiction efforts, expose the
illegality of cocalero activities through media coverage,
enter with large numbers, and sweep areas of operation
(including with bomb squads and canines) before CORAH begins
to eradicate. Police will camp in the field to provide full
security for people and helicopters. Although the 2006
plans are yet to be decided, hard-core coca growers in areas
where Sendero Luminoso columns are known to operate will be
the next targets. It is likely that the very hostile Monzon
valley will be on the list with its nearly 13,000 hectares
of coca. As more cadets graduate in the coming year,
dedicated to counter-narcotics operations East of the Andes,
we anticipate NAS's relations with the police will continue
to improve as will police capabilities. By 2008 we expect
2,000 new police will be operating in areas previously
devoid of law enforcement - for the first time in memory,
willing to stand up to threatened cocalero violence and
attacks from subversive groups.
STRUBLE