LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian police drugs-squad members disguised as Santa Claus and an elf swooped into a house in Lima not to deliver gifts but to capture a suspected cocaine and dope dealer as part of an anti-drug operation.
The agents, dressed in red, white and green outfits with flak jackets hidden underneath, arrived in an undercover van on Sunday before breaking into the house with a large hammer to apprehend their suspect.
“We are the police, we are the green squad, this is an anti-drug operation,” one of the agents yelled in footage filmed by police of the raid, as he pinned the suspect to the ground and handcuffed him in the Villa El Salvador district of Lima.
The tactic of launching raids particularly to take down drug gangs using operatives in dress-up is a common tactic of Peruvian police to assure the element of surprise which, they say, has brought some notable successes in recent years.
The arrested man had been videotaped selling drugs outside his home near a school, a police spokesman said. At the house, police found a bag with hundreds of small bags that appeared to contain drugs, a revolver and a balaclava, he said.
“With the results we are seeing, a significant amount of drugs has been confiscated, both marijuana and basic cocaine paste in ketes (small packages of drugs), a firearm has also been seized,” said Colonel Fredy Velasquez, head of the Grupo Terna drugs squad.
Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Nick Zieminski
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