Things That Matter

In Peru, Santa And His Elves Are Helping Bust Drug Dealers And Are Going Viral In The Process

Around this time of year, you can imagine just how busy Santa Claus and his team of elves are. I mean, they’re preparing for a one-night trip around the world to deliver gifts to each of the planet’s 2.2 billion kids. How they do it is beyond me…

Well, now it appears that Santa and his elves even had some extra time to help bust drug cartels in Peru!

Cops are dressing up as Christmas favorites to help bust drug dealers.

With the Christmas holiday rapidly approaching, some of Peru’s cops have donned a new but familiar disguise: Papa Noel, or Santa Claus. The cops disguised as Santa Claus and his elf were not exactly spreading cheer on a sleigh when they jumped out of an undercover van and broke down the door of a man who made the naughty list.

In a police video released online, an officer dressed as Santa Claus can be seen smashing through a door with a sledgehammer, conducting a search of a home, and leading drug suspects out in handcuffs.

“We are the police! We are the green squad! This is an anti-drug operation!” one of the agents was captured on video yelling at the suspect in the Villa El Salvador district of Lima.

“We are able to imitate any type of character,” Peru National Police Col. Jorge Angulo told America TV. “This is a special character. We have had the opportunity to raid a home for the issue of drug sales.”

During that raid, Peruvian police arrested four suspects and seized 4,564 packets of cocaine hidden in three houses. “The detainees were left with speechless upon seeing Santa Claus,” news site Metro Peru reported.

The best gift we can give is a little security to the people,” Angulo said.

The police force involved often dresses up in disguise to help bust criminals.

A special division of Lima’s police force has been known to dress as street sweepers, vendors, or as homeless people in order to patrol its territory and detect criminal activity.

Crime, particularly drug-related crime, is an issue of special concern in Lima and in Peru more broadly. Assaults and shootings have taken place in restaurants, and there have been killings of merchants and workers in broad daylight, all of which has contributed to a sense of insecurity, according to La Prensa.

Lima and the port city of Callao, which is just west of the Peruvian capital, have seen high levels of drug-related crime, as gangs compete for influence of the trafficking in the country that has become the second-largest producer of cocaine, behind Colombia, as well as a hub for counterfeiting and forgery.

Though not everyone supports the raids since police in the country have been accused of illegal activity.

Just as has been the case in the U.S. and Mexico, police in Peru are coming under increased scrutiny for alleged illegal activity. There have been numerous reports that members of the police forces have formed “death squads” and that successful operations have been staged to intimidate and harass citizens.

High levels of official complicity and of corruption within the government and law enforcement have long shielded police members involved in criminal activity, and the prevalence of such complicity seems likely to undercut some recent laws aimed at combating organized crime and official impunity.

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