Drug traffickers to rake in millions during World Cup
Drug cartels in Peru and Bolivia, two of the world’s top producers of cocaine, are drooling over the bountiful market being served up next door by the World Cup in Brazil.
They are sending huge amounts of the drug to their giant South American neighbour, where the world’s premier sporting event starts on Thursday.
“We have observed very intense drug trafficking activity as the World Cup approaches,” General Vicente Romero, director of Peru’s anti-drug agency, known as Dirandro, told AFP.
Since the start of the year there has been a huge increase in the number of so-called “drug flights” by small planes from Peru carrying cocaine to Bolivia.
From there, it is transported over land to Brazil.
Secret landing strips sprout like mushrooms in the Peruvian valleys where coca leaves are produced. From there, planes carrying up to 300kg of cocaine are taking off frequently, the authorities say.
In the first five months of the year, Peruvian authorities staging commando-style raids have destroyed 72 such airstrips.
Said Gen Romero: “In Peru, a kilo of cocaine can cost US$1,000 (S$1,200) but in Manaus (Brazil), the same amount goes for US$5,000 and in Sao Paulo, it’s US$7,000.”
Dirandro says a load of 300kg of cocaine worth an estimated US$300,000 in Peru can go for as much as US$3 million in Rio.