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24 October 2008

Peru and INTERPOL carry out Operation Anaconda to deter criminal networks from using stolen or lost travel documents

LIMA, Peru – An operation at Jorge Chavez international airport in Lima has been carried out by Peruvian law enforcement authorities in co-ordination with INTERPOL to dismantle criminal networks using stolen or lost travel documents and prevent criminals attempting to use fraudulent documents to enter Peru.

Operation Anaconda, which ran from 13-24 October, involved more than 70 Peruvian police and immigration officers working in co-ordination with INTERPOL’s General Secretariat in Lyon, France, its National Central Bureau (NCB) in Lima, and Peru’s National Police, Migration office and Ministry of Foreign affairs.

It saw the installation at the airport and the integration within Peru’s police system of INTERPOL’s MIND/FIND technology, which allows frontline police and at border points instant search capability against INTERPOL databases of both travellers’ names and passport numbers. In the future MIND/FIND technology will also allow fingerprint, DNA and photograph searches.

Operation Anaconda was part of INTERPOL’s new project on Dismantling Smuggling Networks (DSN) which aims to detect criminal networks providing stolen or lost travel documents to illegal immigrants or individuals involved in organized crime.

During the operation at Lima International Airport the names and travel documents of more than 20,000 international arrivals and departures were instantly checked against INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database which contains more than 16 million documents from over 140 countries. Name checks during the operation resulted in some 200 matches with INTERPOL’s database and these were followed up by national law enforcement authorities.

Operation Anaconda also saw INTERPOL provide training to more than 150 Peruvian police and immigration officers on INTERPOL’s tools and services, including its databases and criminal intelligence analysis unit.

At the operation’s conclusion Peru’s Vice Minister of Interior, Danilo Guevara Zegarra, emphasized the importance of instant access to INTERPOL databases in enhancing security at Peru’s border points.

“This operation and the implementation of INTERPOL tools and services to Peruvian Police on the frontline gives officers instant access to vital policing information," the Vice Minister said. “The implementation of MIND/FIND at the international airport in Lima and its full implementation in the Peruvian Police system will help maximize security at Peru’s border points,” he added.

Operations within the DSN-project are planned to be carried out in a number of other countries in 2009.