Peru wants US ‘non-lethal’ assistance to stop cocaine trafficking planes

Peru, the world’s one of the leading manufacturers of cocaine, has been negotiating a deal with the United States for “non-lethal” assistance in intercepting planes carrying illicit drugs since March. Peru’s anti-drug chief on Wednesday (July 14) said, that the country wants to reach an agreement with the US as soon as possible to assist it to combat the use of planes to smuggle cocaine at a time when coca planting has been expanding. The US discontinued its support to Peru when the Peruvian Air Force mistakenly shot down a jet after mistaking it for one belonging to drug traffickers, killing two American citizens, Reuters reported.

Ricardo Soberon, head of the national anti-drug organization DEVIDA in a conference stated that the efforts to destroy coca farms, the plants used to make cocaine, have been hampered by rising global demand for the drug. Soberon further said that “the concept of shared responsibility’ needs to be reviewed.

Also read | Peru: In a major drug haul, police seize 1 tonne of cocaine

Soberon said, production in Peru has primarily increased in the Ucayali area, which shares a border with Brazil. The cocoa plantation has nearly quadrupled in size in just the matter of two years, adding 10,229 hectares (25,276 acres) in 2021. However, the official number has not yet been declared, the chief continued by saying that the national growth of coca leaf crops is anticipated to have increased in the year 2021. The country anticipates coca leaf crops would cover 61,700 hectares in the year 2020.

Also read | Cocaine worth $86 million gets delivered to supermarkets in banana shipment

The anti-drug chief plans to visit Washington in late August or during the beginning of September to meet with the US State Department to discuss the situation.

(With inputs from agencies)

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