Peruvian special operations troops and police carried out a unique operation against drug gangs in late 2013. The Peruvians sought to disrupt cocaine manufacturing and transportation by making a series of raids on 20 airfields used to fly the cocaine out and 24 wells used by remote processing facilities where the coca leaves were converted into cocaine. To do this 224 personnel, ten helicopters, five hovercraft and five tons of explosives were used to quickly destroy the landing strips and wells. There were several firefights because these facilities were often guarded by Shining Path gunmen. These are leftist revolutionaries who are now hired guns for drug gangs in order to stay in business.
Of course the landing strips can be rebuilt and new wells dug. But this takes time and meanwhile cocaine production and movement is halted and this provides the security forces with more targets and opportunities. The drug gangs hate this kind of unorthodox thinking, especially when it is carried out so quickly. The special operations troops are taught to think and operate this way and while this sort of thing does not appeal to more conventional police and army commanders, it’s this sort of operations that are most likely to disrupt drug production if carried out on a sustained basis. That’s a big deal in Peru which has recently replaced Colombia as the largest producer of cocaine in the world.