Anti-money laundering expert targets the Kinahan cartel’s main source of cocaine in South America.
now known as “The Iron Prosecutor,” Marita Barreto Rivera spearheads the fight against Peru’s drug cartels and the vast network set up to hide their money.
The country has become a key springboard in the export of cocaine from Bolivia and Colombia to Europe and the United States.
Rivera is credited with disrupting the network used by Kinahan’s wedding guest Edin ‘Tito’ Gacanin, known as ‘The Balkans Escobar’.
Tito’s cartel has teamed up with the Moroccan Kinahan and Dutch Taghi gangs to finance massive shipments of cocaine to Europe worth billions of euros.
Over the past five years, Rivera and his team have expanded their investigation from 30 to more than 400 and have seized several properties and frozen bank accounts.
His investigation into the Orellana clan revealed links between cocaine traffickers and police, judges and politicians.
She has succeeded in forcing senior judges to step down as a number of prominent Peruvian businessmen and lawyers face criminal trials.
Rivera, who works with a team of 11 other prosecutors, has stayed the course despite attempts to have her removed from the investigation
His work and interrogations of suspects revealed how Gacinin controls at least a third of cocaine exports to Europe from its base in Dubai.
A key suspect in Peru is international rally driver Fernando De Olazabal, where Rivera has been reported to have sought a court order to keep him in detention for three years, according to local media.
He is described as being the direct link to Tito and the flow of cocaine to Europe.
The operation against him began in 2018 when a shipment of three tons of cocaine in a banana container from the port of Paita bound for Europe was seized.
Last December, Rivera personally led some of the property searches targeting De Olazabal by members of Orion de la Diandro, Peru’s elite police unit.
While Tito remains out of Rivera’s reach in Dubai, she is continuing the investigation in Peru where high-end vehicles and swathes of land have also been seized.
His efforts thwarted the operation led by Edin Gacanin, which would now be a target of the DEA in the United States.
Born in Sarajevo, “Tito” runs a Bosnian cartel in which his uncle Mirza Gacanin also played a key role.
Mirza, a Dutch Bosnian dual citizen, was arrested last year in the Netherlands on money laundering charges.
A huge amount of criminal network intelligence has also been gleaned through law enforcement hacking into encrypted phone networks used by gangsters.
Details of the links between Gacanin, Kinahan, Dutch mafia boss Ridouan Taghi and Camorra gangster Raffaele Imperiale were in a DEA file sent to Dutch authorities last year.
He revealed how the main actors were all invited to Kinahan’s 2017 wedding at the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.
Taghi is currently on trial in the Netherlands after being extradited from Dubai.