By Marguerite Cawley
A journalist in Peru has reported that Colombia‘s FARC guerrillas are profiting from the illegal gold trade inside Peru, underscoring the rebels’ cross-border activities and their deep involvement in the lucrative illegal mining business.
According to reports by Cecilia Valenzuela in El Comercio and in television program Mira Quien Habla, an alliance has existed between the 63rd Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Peruvian illegal miners operating along the Putumayo River — which divides Colombia and Peru – for at least three years.
Octavio Ortiz Ramirez, alias “Wilmer El Burro,” the head of the 63rd Front of the FARC‘s Southern Bloc, charges the Peruvian miners for protection services and logistical support, she reported.
Colombian police have identified the Colombian national Jair Manrique Pedroza as the top buyer of illegal gold from this region, according to Valenzuela. El Tiempo reported that Colombian police have also identified the people who serve as go-betweens for the FARC leaders, gold miners and buyers.