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10/15/08

Major drug lord arrested in Peru


He goes by the name of Luis Valdez, he's 70 years old, he's (surprise surprise) mayor of a small town in the Amazon basin province of Ucuyali, close to the border with Brazil. And for some unknown reason, he's just been arrested on money laundering charges by the Peruvian authorities. It might be a sign of the times, or it might be the fact that Valdez has just been ordered to pay $1.5m in damages to the family of the investigative reporter he murdered in 2004, but I wrote "for some unknown reason" because the fact....plain fact....that Valdez has been a major Peru drugs baron (perhaps THE major drugs baron) for decades with a slick logistics operation that combines with the Colombian and Mexicans and finishes up the noses of people in New York City; this isn't some big surprise suddenly uncovered by some sleuth or other.

Bad news Luis...that's not the back of a chair. Those are bars

His modus operandi is quite simple. Under the cover of the transport boats owned by his timber and wood processing companies, he floats large consignments of cocaine down the Amazon. he's actually been caught red-handed a couple of times, too. For example, as far back as 1981 four metric tonnes of cocaine was discovered on one of his craft, but everso everso strangely when it was time for police to file charges they said they'd made a mistake and the 4 tonnes of white powder ws in fact wheat flour mixed with fuel oil. Hey.....anyone can make a mistake, right? Then in 2001 another 560kg of cocaine was found on board one of his boats destined for Guatemala. And then suddenly it was unfound, as the evidence disappeared and charges were quietly dropped. And as another surprise surprise, there are plenty of other reports like those two examples to choose from.

So suddenly this major drugrunner has been arrested and this time it's under full media glow. He was shipped out to Lima today and will appear before the beak tomorrow (most probably). Watch this space to find out if he suddenly gets the benefit of another legal loophole. Meanwhile, this is just another layer of bad news for the New York banking and analyst scene, as simple supply and demand says they'll be paying more for their weekend recreationals.....all on top of a bear market and a recession, too. When it rains it pours, eh?