[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 20 November 2005, 07:45 GMT
Peru seizes alleged drugs kingpin
Fernando Zevallos in an April 2004 file photo
Mr Zevallos has never been convicted of a crime
Police in Peru have arrested a former airline owner whom the United States accuses of being a "drugs kingpin".

Fernando Zevallos is suspected of cocaine trafficking, murder and witness tampering, Peru's state attorney for drugs crimes told Associated Press.

He is already being tried in Peru over an attempted shipment of cocaine to Mexico in 1995, which was foiled.

He maintains his innocence, reportedly saying he was the victim of abuse of authority as he was taken into custody.

Peruvian television showed him being led handcuffed into the headquarters of the police anti-drugs unit on Saturday.


Mr Zevallos was placed on a US list of suspected drugs traffickers in June of last year.

His US assets and those of his airline, Aero Continente, were frozen, leading to its collapse.

Coca grower, Peru
Coca - the raw material for cocaine - is grown in Peru

Under US legislation, people placed on the US list of drug traffickers and their businesses are denied access to the American financial system.

Mr Zevallos has previously been accused of trafficking cocaine, laundering money, tampering with witnesses and ordering murder, but has never been convicted.

The latest arrest appears to be linked to the trial of drugs trafficker Jorge Chavez, reportedly an enforcer for Mr Zevallos.

Mr Chavez pleaded guilty to drugs charges in Miami 10 years ago and became an undercover informant, AP reports.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration says it has launched more than 30 investigations into Mr Zevallos.

He insists he is the victim of character assassination, overzealous US drug agents and business rivals.

Peru airline chief faces drug ban
02 Jun 04 |  Americas
Rethinking the war on drugs
07 Oct 05 |  South Asia
Peru to tolerate coca cultivation
22 Jun 05 |  Americas
Andes record fall in coca crop
18 Jun 04 |  Americas
Peru's coca growers demand help
19 Feb 04 |  Americas
Country profile: Peru
02 Nov 05 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific