Police in Peru have broken up a gang that allegedly killed dozens of people in order to extract and sell their fat for use in cosmetics, according to media reports.
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The Associated Press quotesCol. Jorge Mejia, chief of Peru’s anti-kidnapping police, as saying three gang members have confessed to killing five people for their fat.
Two were arrested at a bus station while carrying bottles of liquid fat, he says. The suspects told police it was worth about $60,000 a gallon.
The three have been charged with homicide, criminal conspiracy, illegal firearms possession and drug trafficking, the AP reports.
Several medical experts acknowledged that fat had cosmetic uses, but they also said they doubted that there was an international black market for human fat, the AP says.
While police officials suspect that the fat was sold to cosmetic companies in Europe, Mejia said he could not confirm any sales, the AP says.
Police showed reporters two bottles of fat recovered from the suspects and a photo of the remains of a dismembered 27-year-old man recovered in a coca-growing valley.
Mejía said on of the suspects, Elmer Segundo Castillejos, told officers that the gang would cut off a victim’s head, arms and legs, remove the organs, and then drain the fat into tubs.
Reuters reports that police are investigating the disappearance of at least 60 people in the area linked to the gang.
(Posted by Doug Stanglin)