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|
|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: http://www.refworld.org/docid/403dd2124.html [accessed 15 September 2014]|
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 (Primerapagina.com 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'."
_____. 3 June 2003. "Gerente de Banco Continental sería el verdadero 'blanco' del intento de secuestro en San Isidro."
_____. 20 March 2003. "PNP recupera vehículo usado en secuestro a esposa de empresario."
_____. 1 May 2002. "Delincuente capturado en frustrado asalto a empresa de limpieza era miembro de banda 'Los Destructores'."
_____. 8 January 2002. "Policía captura a integrante de banda de los Destructores."
Caretas [Lima]. 12 February 1998. No. 1503. "Se alquila."
El Comercio [Lima]. 17 October 2003. "A balazos capturan a 'Cholo Balqui'."
_____. 2 October 2003. "Secuestradores no sueltan escolar."
Comisión Andina de Juristas (CAJ), Lima. May 2000. Cronología Andina. "Peru-Mayo 2000."
International Development Research Centre (IDRC). October 1994. IDRC Reports. Vol. 22. No. 3. Kathryn Leger. "Crime and Urban Development in Peru."
International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), Toronto. n.d. "Alert: Journalists Assaulted by Defenders in Trial."
Primerapagina.com. 18 August 2002. "Cabecilla de 'Los Destructores', relacionado con secuestro a pareja de Alberto Venero, fue capturado en Chimbote."
La República [Lima]. 13 June 2002. Oscar Chumpitaz. "Alerta en Lima: liberan a 22 cabecillas de superbandas."
Terra [Lima]. 30 September 2003. "Secuestro de escolar fue planeado y dirigido desde la cárcel."
Tu Diario [Lima]. 22 September 2002. "'Cojo Giovanni' volvió a caer."
_____. 20 September 2000. "Identifican a cuatro secuestradores de Pollack."
Additional Sources Consulted
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)