Peruvian police have disrupted a plot to assassinate the prosecutor developing money laundering, racketeering and fraud charges against Rodolfo Orellana.
Police inadvertently happened upon the plan to assassinate special prosecutor Marita Barreto and two collaborating witnesses while monitoring phone calls between members of the gang suspected in a widely publicized attack in Lima on alleged drug trafficker Gerald Oropeza’s Porsche.
La Republica reports the police intercepted phone calls coming from gang members incarcerated in the Callapalca penitentiary in Puno, where Orellana was transferred three weeks ago. Orellana allegedly offered $200,000 for Barreto’s murder, and the jailed assassins passed the information on to gang leaders in Lima by phone. The report states the attack should have taken place last weekend, but was delayed due to difficulty in recruiting assassins for such a high-profile target with police protection.
Attorney general Pablo Sanchez offered to take Barreto off the case, but she refused. “They are not going to scare me. I assume the risk. I want to continue with the investigations, for the victims as well as the witnesses,” Barreto said. The interior ministry has moved Barreto outside of Lima and reinforced her personal security detail.
Rodolfo Orellana employed a team of public notaries, politicians, judges, police officers and other government officials in a far-reaching criminal organization which took advantage of a weak legal system to defraud property owners and profit from other crimes and scams. In addition to hundreds of private property owners, the Orellana network’s victims include the state government of Arequipa, the municipal government of Lima’s La Victoria district, Scotiabank, the Alianza Lima soccer club, the national banking authority (SBS) and even the tax authority (SUNAT).
The jailing this week of former supreme court justice Robinson Gonzales illustrates how high Orellana’s network reached. The criminal organization also involved police colonel Benedicto Jimenez, national hero of the operation to arrest Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman. Jimenez commanded as many as 200 police officers involved in the Orellana network.
After Orellana’s arrest in Cali, Colombia and deportation back to Peru, authorities seized over $1 billion in assets from the person who former interior minister Daniel Urresti called “the biggest mafioso in Peru.”
Así opera la red de Rodolfo Orellana (La Republica)
Peru’s Most Wanted Deported From Colombia (Insight Crime)
Peru Seizes $1 Bn in Assets from Leader of Massive Crime Ring (Insight Crime)