Army lieutenant Wilmer Delgado allegedly letting small planes ferry cocaine out of the world’s No. 1 coca-producing valley (VRAEM) in exchange for bribes of $10,000 per planeload.
According to Peruvian prosecutors, Lt. Delgado is the first Peruvian military officer arrested on drug charges in at least a decade.
“The information that I have is that he was charging a sum of money for every flight that left the VRAEM,” said chief organized crime prosecutor Jorge Chavez Cotrina.
It is believed that Delgado shared the bribes he collected with his superiors.
According to police reports, four or five flights a day transport over than 300 kilos each of semi-refined cocaine from the valley. An accused narco pilot told the Associated Press that local military commanders charge up to $10,000 per flight.
Delgado’s arrest follows a report released by the AP that found Peru’s armed forces turned a blind eye to daily cocaine flights to Bolivia of more than a ton of the drug from Peru’s Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro river valley.
Police have also been battling the 60-odd remaining members of the Shining Path rebel group, still living in VRAEM.