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Peru: Existence and activities of "The Destroyers" (Los Destructores)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 15 December 2003
Citation / Document Symbol PER42303.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Peru: Existence and activities of "The Destroyers" (Los Destructores), 15 December 2003, PER42303.E, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Established in the 1990s by brothers Jacinto Aucayari Bellido and Enrique Ramos Bellido (24 Horas 23 Sept. 2003), The Destroyers (Los Destructores) were a criminal group whose membership consisted predominantly of former police officers (IDRC Oct. 1994). According to the Lima newspaper La República, they were Peru's "bloodiest" (más sanguinaria) gang, committing a string of abductions, killings and robberies using assault weapons (13 June 2002). The group's weaponry, which reportedly included HK G3 light machine guns (Caretas 12 Feb. 1988), was reportedly acquired from police stations in the country's interior (IDRC Oct. 1994). While no mention of the location of The Destroyers' headquarters could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate, the group was active in Lima, perpetrating for example a 13 May 1993 assault on an armoured truck on the Via Expresa highway in which a number of people were injured (La República 13 June 2002).

In addition to The Destroyers' founders, individuals linked to the gang include Víctor Pampañaupa Gutiérrez, a former member of the Peruvian army's special forces (ibid.); Jorge Manuel Saravia Prado, also known as "Miguel" or "Gringo" (Terra 30 Sept. 2003); Alejandro Balque Gómez, also known as "Cholo Balqui" (El Comercio 17 Oct. 2003); Víctor Ramírez Lingan, also known as "Canela" (24 Horas 8 Jan. 2002); Segundo Cruzado Arroyo, also known as "Cañango" (ibid. 1 May 2002); Jorge Villena Oyola ( 18 Aug. 2002); Julio Cáceres Inga, also known as "30-30" (Tu Diario 20 Sept. 2002); and Juan Saldarriaga Díaz, a former police officer (24 Horas 3 June 2003).

Thirty-three alleged members of the gang were brought to trial in Lima in 1995 (IFEX n.d.). Although no information on the sentences imposed on these individuals could be found among the sources consulted, in May 2000 the Andean Commission of Jurists (Comisión Andina de Juristas, CAJ) reported that the head of the Magistrates' Internal Control District Office (Oficina Distrital de Control Interno de la Magistratura, ODICMA) had expressed some concerns because several members of The Destroyers had been paroled from prison in preceding weeks. Furthermore, the Lima-based television station 24 Horas claimed on 23 September 2003 that the Bellido brothers, though still in prison, were continuing to plan robberies and kidnappings. Earlier in 2003, David Ocampo Cachay, Jacinto Aucayari Bellido's brother-in-law, had reportedly been instructed to reorganize The Destroyers following his release from jail (24 Horas 20 Mar. 2003).

Individuals linked to the gang were reportedly involved in a number of violent incidents in 2002 and 2003 (ibid. 3 June 2003; ibid. 1 May 2002; El Comercio 2 Oct. 2003; Tu Diario 22 Sept. 2002). For example, on 21 September 2002, Giovanni Danti Puertas, a former member of The Destroyers, was arrested shortly after having beaten and robbed two men while posing as a taxi driver (ibid.). In March 2003, gang members reportedly abducted a telephone company employee, releasing him within a few hours following payment of a ransom (24 Horas 3 June 2003).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


24 Horas [Lima]. 23 September 2003. "Policía captura a cabecilla y secuaces de banda 'Los Destructores'." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]
_____. 3 June 2003. "Gerente de Banco Continental sería el verdadero 'blanco' del intento de secuestro en San Isidro." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]
_____. 20 March 2003. "PNP recupera vehículo usado en secuestro a esposa de empresario." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]
_____. 1 May 2002. "Delincuente capturado en frustrado asalto a empresa de limpieza era miembro de banda 'Los Destructores'." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]
_____. 8 January 2002. "Policía captura a integrante de banda de los Destructores." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]

Caretas [Lima]. 12 February 1998. No. 1503. "Se alquila." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]

El Comercio [Lima]. 17 October 2003. "A balazos capturan a 'Cholo Balqui'." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]
_____. 2 October 2003. "Secuestradores no sueltan escolar." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]

Comisión Andina de Juristas (CAJ), Lima. May 2000. Cronología Andina. "Peru-Mayo 2000." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]

International Development Research Centre (IDRC). October 1994. IDRC Reports. Vol. 22. No. 3. Kathryn Leger. "Crime and Urban Development in Peru." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]

International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), Toronto. n.d. "Alert: Journalists Assaulted by Defenders in Trial." (Google cache) [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003] 18 August 2002. "Cabecilla de 'Los Destructores', relacionado con secuestro a pareja de Alberto Venero, fue capturado en Chimbote." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]

La República [Lima]. 13 June 2002. Oscar Chumpitaz. "Alerta en Lima: liberan a 22 cabecillas de superbandas." (Google cache) [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]

Terra [Lima]. 30 September 2003. "Secuestro de escolar fue planeado y dirigido desde la cárcel." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]

Tu Diario [Lima]. 22 September 2002. "'Cojo Giovanni' volvió a caer." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]
_____. 20 September 2000. "Identifican a cuatro secuestradores de Pollack." [Accessed 12 Dec. 2003]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases

Latin American Regional Reports: Andean Group Report (LARR) [London]. 1996-2003

Internet sites, including:

24 Horas [Lima]

Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH)

El Comercio [Lima]

Comisión Andina de Juristas (CAJ)

Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos

Country Reports. 1996-2002

World News Connection (WNC)

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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