LIMA – Peruvian authorities on Tuesday burned more than 8 tons of illegal drugs at the National Police Special Forces headquarters, bringing to 33 tons the amount of illicit substances seized and destroyed this year.
Coca paste and cocaine make up the vast bulk of the contraband incinerated in 2016.
The volume of illegal substances confiscated demonstrates “the magnitude of the actions taken by the government to intensify our fight against the illicit trafficking of drugs,” Peru’s deputy interior minister, Ruben Vargas, said ahead of Tuesday’s operation.
A report published in July by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime quantified the amount of Peruvian land planted with coca in 2015 at 40,300 hectares (99,500 acres), the smallest extension since 1999.
The area under coca cultivation decreased in 2015 for a fourth year in a row, starting from a high of 62,500 hectares (154,300 acres) in 2011.
The UN report found that Peruvian growers harvested 96,304 tons of coca leaf last year, of which 87,304 tons went toward production of cocaine.
Peru, like neighboring Bolivia, allows cultivation of coca in limited amounts for legal use in teas, folk remedies and tradition Andean religious rites.