Drug trades lowest rung Perus cocaine backpackers

center_img “I can’t go back,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear. “They said they’re going to kill me.”Rural medic Oscar Huaman runs a health post along a principal backpacker route and sees mochileros almost daily.He said robbers like to pounce at mountain streams when fatigued mochileros drop their loads to refresh.In January, Huaman had to pluck grenade fragments from the legs and faces of two backpackers who were attacked at a stream. One lost his pack and the nearly 18 pounds (8 kilograms) of cocaine inside.It could have been worse. Villagers along the remote routes sometimes run across putrefied corpses. Deaths go unreported. Bodies lack identification papers, and locals quietly bury them.Borda, the backpacker whose route passes near Machu Picchu, says his group of four was once confronted by five gunmen.“We only had three .38-caliber pistols,” he said. “So that they wouldn’t kill us, we gave them all the backpacks.”In highlands prisons near the Apurimac river valley, nearly half the inmates are in for cocaine trafficking — compared to a fifth nationwide. Worse for backpackers, a statute was amended last year to strip those newly convicted of drug offenses of a chance at parole. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 0 Comments   Share   In this country that overtook Colombia in 2012 as the world’s No. 1 cocaine-producing nation, Mardonio Borda regularly hikes within a few hours of the Machu Picchu tourist mecca, bound for Cuzco with drugs.The 19-year-old Quechua native has a sixth-grade education and speaks broken Spanish. But the 11 pounds of coca paste he carries will fetch up to $250,000 on New York streets as powder cocaine sold by the gram.Hauling cocaine is about the only way to earn decent cash — $150 to $400 per trip depending on the load — in a region where a farmhand earns less than $10 a day and the poverty rate is triple the national average.Yet it is packing highlands prisons with young, mostly native Quechua speakers who, like Borda, hail from the isolated communities that suffered the worst atrocities of Peru’s 1980-2000 conflict with Shining Path rebels.“The great majority haven’t finished high school,” said Laura Barrenechea, a sociologist who oversaw a study last year of 33 imprisoned backpackers. “They are not really conscious that they are the first link in the drug-trafficking chain.”The Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro river valley stretches northward for 250 miles (400 kilometers), and about a third of the coca grown here is trekked out by backpackers. Not a single fully paved road reaches the valley, which separates the Andes ridge from the Amazon basin. HUANTA, Peru (AP) — The lung-searing ascents into the Andean highlands aren’t what worry the untold hundreds of young men who hump backpacks loaded with drugs out of the remote, lawless valley that produces about 60 percent of Peru’s cocaine.Armed gangs, crooked police and rival backpacker groups regularly rob cocaine’s beasts of burden on their three- to five-day journeys over mountain paths carved by their pre-Incan ancestors. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *