Data and information about security threats from Peru’s black market. Intelligence and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public data sources.

Between 2011 and 2013, authorities in Chile seized 362,752 pirated books from stores across the country. The pirated books were valued at $1.5 Million. In 2013, a total of 6,559 pirated books valued at $106,000 were seized in Chile. The rate of seizures has increased in 2014, with 13,181 pirated books being seized in the first three months of the year, or more than doubled the total amount for 2013. Most of the pirated books seized in Chile are children’s books and literature books. However, police have seen an increase in pirated textbooks in 2014. For example, the textbook Atlas of Human Anatomy is the main book used for health programs in universities in Chile. Officials have seized 34 pirated copies in the first 3 months of 2014. The pirated textbook costs $35, while an original copy of the textbook cots $200. According to security officials, pirated book smugglers from Peru have strapped copies to their bodies and have smuggled it into the country by copying the tactics of drug traffickers.

In 2013, security officials in Peru reported that 1,767 firearms were reported to be stolen or lost during the year. Most of the guns are stolen from private owners or government security forces.

Security experts believe that most of these guns end up for sale on the black market.

(More arms trafficking statistics.)

Source:  Mimi Yagoub, “Arms Theft from Peru Army Supplies Points to Official Complicity,” InSight Crime, April 3, 2014.

In a report by NBC News, an illegal passport broker offered the reporter a genuine passport from Spain that could be obtained by a corrupt official working inside the Spanish embassy. The broker, working in Lima, Peru, offered the genuine Spanish passport for $1,750.

The broker also offered a legitimate looking Peruvian passport for sale for $900.

(More prices of illegal goods and services.)

According to the Secretary General of Interpol, up to 4 out of every 10 international travelers are able to board planes and travel abroad without their passport being checked against the global database of stolen passports.

Source:  Anna Schecter, “Passport Black Market Remains ‘a Gaping Hole’ in Air Security,” NBC News, March 18, 2014.

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An article by the Daily Express in the UK reported on the black market trade in valuable and rare orchids, and the prices that buyers purchase these flowers.

A rare Lady’s Slipper orchid, which is so rare that it is given police protection, was found on a golf course in the North of England. The flower was once thought to be extinct. It has been difficult to reintroduce the flower in other areas, creating a high demand for the flower. The flower reportedly can be bought for $8,358 (£5,000) each.

The Gold of Inabalu orchid can only be found in Malaysia, is sold for $5,850 (£3,500).

Peruvian orchids, which were discovered in 2001, were found to have be available for sale in the United States for $11,701 (£3,500).

The plant and flower trade is increasing in popularity around the world, leading to an increase in illegal cutting of flowers and other thefts. In the United Kingdom, theft from private gardens increased by 20 percent between 2008 and 2013.

(Prices of exotic animals for sale.)

There are 36,000 endangered plants and species around the world. Nearly 30,000 are from the orchid family.

The legal plant trade generates about $15 Billion (£9 Billion) a year.

Source:  Adrian Lee, “The black market for green fingers: Illegal trade in rare plants reaches startling scale,” Daily Express, February 18, 2014.

A study conducted by the Mexican House of Representatives reported on the top countries in Latin American where money laundering cases occurs.

The countries and the amount of money laundered is as follows:

Brazil: $2.9 Trillion (5 percent of GDP).

Mexico: $1.1 Trillion (3.6 percent of GDP).

Chile: $268.27 Billion (4 percent of GDP).

Peru: $200 Billion (4 percent of GDP).

Ecuador: $70 Billion (4 percent of GDP).

According to an anti-money laundering expert with Grant Thornton, money launderers follow a three steps process of placement, stratification and integration.

The first step of how money launders move their funds is by placing numerous small amounts into different financial institution. Then, the funds are deposited into various accounts around the world in order to move the money further away from its original source. The final step of the laundering process is to use those funds to purchase legal assets, such as real estate.

(More cases of money laundering.)

Source:  Sergio Ramos, “Money laundering by organized crime affects regional economy,” Infosurhoy, February 11, 2014.

Over 50,000 hectares of rainforests in Peru was estimated to have been destroyed in 2013 due to illegal mining activities. In 2012, 18,000 hectares of rainforest was destroyed due to illegal mining.

Illegal mining has become a profitable activity on the black market for criminals in Peru. The value of the illegal gold mining in 2013 was 15 percent higher than the profits drug traffickers received from trafficking cocaine.

Source:  Cecilia Jamasmie, “Illegal mining is Latin America’s new cocaine,” Mining.com, December 23, 2013.

The head of the National Fisheries Society in Peru stated that up to one million tonnes of anchovy is illegally caught in the country each year.

There are up to six million tonnes of anchovy that is caught in Peru each year, with one million being illegally fished.

The fishing industry is the second largest economic activity in Peru behind mining and employs 230,000 people.

Source:  Analia Murias, “One million tonnes of anchovy illegally fished, according to SNP,” FIS, November 8, 2013.

5.1 percent of residents in Peru’s capital of Lima abused cocaine in 2013, according to a report by a drug monitoring organization. 8.9 percent of the city’s residents used marijuana.

Across the entire country, 2.4 percent of the population aged 12 to 65 abused cocaine in Peru, an increase of over 60 percent from the 1.5 percent who used cocaine in 2010. Marijuana use in Peru also increased during that time period, from 5.6 percent to 7.5 percent.

(Marijuana prices by country.)

Source:  Natalie Southwick, “Cocaine Use in Peru Increases 60% in 3 Years,” Insight Crime, November 7, 2013.

The Attorney General of Peru stated that $10 Billion in illicit funds was laundered in the country in 2012, double the estimated $5 Billion that was laundered in 2011.  The money laundering activity that takes place in Peru accounts for 3.5 percent of the country’s GDP.

(Additional money laundering techniques.)

One new black market crime that is contributing to the funds is extortion. Gangs in a northern city collected over $900,000 in extortion fees between 2012 and 2013 from 14,000 taxi drivers. The funds were deposited into 150 different bank accounts.

According to Insight Crime, other major black market activities in Peru including drug trafficking, which generates up to $1.2 Billion a year, and illegal logging, a $500 Million industry.

Source:  Marguerite Cawley, “Growth of Extortion a Major Concern for Peru: Official,” Insight Crime, October 31, 2013.

The director of the Tax and Customs enforcement agency in Colombia stated that the profit margin for criminals selling counterfeit drugs is between 500 to 1,000 percent. For example, a fake Viagra pill that costs $1 to manufacture can be sold for $5 to $10.

Intelligence analysts state that cost of the counterfeit drugs being sold in Colombia was manufactured in Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

From 2012 to the middle of 2013, the various agencies of the criminal justice system in Colombia seized over 5 million fake and contraband drugs. These medicines included drugs past its expiration date, drugs that were falsely labeled, and other drugs filled with flour or cement.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that 30 percent of the drugs sold across Latin America are counterfeits.

Source:  Natalie Southwick, “Colombia Pharmaceutical Trafficking ‘Has 1,000% Profits Margins’,” Insight Crime, October 28, 2013.