1,686 kilos seized in Peru
In Piura, Peru, which is now considered the primary cocaine production country in the world, Peruvian authorities have seized 1,686 kilos, which have been linked to the Arellano Felix Cartel, headed by Fernando Sanchez Arellano, referred to in the United States as the Fernando Sanchez Organization.
The kilos, high purity, with an 'impressive amount of cocaine hydrochloride' were destined to Belgium, from the Peruvian port of Paita. The cocaine was intended to be shipped across the Atlantic, disguised, or hidden in a load of organic bananas. Often, when cocaine is discussed, the term stamps is frequently referred to, which is a reference to markings on the packages of cocaine. These markings can be on the cocaine 'brick' itself, embedded into the surface, or on the plastic wrapping.
These stamps can indicate quality, ensuring the cocaine is coming from a source country, or major wholesaler, refer to ownership, or be used for logistical purposes, in terms of where the particular load is going. The markings found on the kilos seized in Peru are 'The Lion', 'The Polo', and 'Louis Vuitton', three brands which apparently are used by the Tijuana Cartel. The Lion likely refers to the popular brand 'Express', which have the logo of a lion, rearing it's claws, on it's hind legs. It is a commonly worn brand, popular among many demographics, but very popular with youths, comparable to an Abercrombie and Fitch, or Hollister.
The Polo likely refers to the classic Ralph Lauren brand, a singular horsemen, that has been ever present in fashion for decades. Louis Vuitton, the French luxury designer, popularized by womens purses and handbags, uses many different prints and styles to distinguish it's brand, but it's probable the kilos were marked with a crossed LV, which is commonly scene on mens and womens shoes. It was not published how or why authorities linked these symbols to Tijuana, though it is assumed through previously established intelligence, from other seized shipments, informants, captured members, or distributors, lower on the hierarchy.
Peruvian authorities detained five men, and confiscated firearms and vehicles, as well as a business, of import and export, where they found documents referencing money laundering. The business was sending 8 containers of bananas to Europe, one of them containing the cocaine, which is said to be worth 101 million dollars. It is documented and established that Mexican, as well as Colombian criminal organizations, including Los Zetas, Gulf Cartel, and Sinaloa, as well as Los Rastrojos, of Columbia send wholesale drug shipments to Europe, where they are either purchased by other criminal networks, or distributed by members of their own syndicate. A kilo of cocaine sells for about 45,000 in the UK, and reportedly prices are going up all over Europe, to give an idea of what this shipment was worth to it's owners.
The Arellano Felix have long held ties in Peru, and though they are thought to be a languishing, dismantled, organization, they are still said to hold territory in Tijuana, and have established connections in Peru.
Sources: AFN Tijuana, BBC, Insight Crime.