LIMA – A military patrol found the wreckage of a Bolivian-registered plane that was destroyed in the jungles of the southern Peruvian region of Ayacucho, the Armed Forces Joint Command said.
The aircraft was spotted on Friday by a navy unit assigned to the Special Command for the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers, or VRAEM, while it was flying over the Ene and Apurimac rivers.
The small plane later landed near Santa Rosa, a town in Huanta province.
Marines made their way to the landing site and found the plane burning, with the registration number partially obliterated and a 9 mm pistol and ammunition in the cockpit.
The special command sent a joint police and military patrol to the area to find the plane’s occupants, while the special prosecutor for drug cases opened a joint investigation with the National Police.
“The Armed Forces Joint Command is committed to continuing to work for the pacification and development of the VRAEM,” the command said in a statement.
National Police officers and military personnel arrested five Bolivians on April 25 for allegedly flying two small planes into Peru as part of a drug smuggling operation.
The planes were spotted by helicopters assigned to the VRAEM Special Command.
The armed forces and National Police are battling the remnants of the Shining Path guerrilla group in the VRAEM.
The rebels have joined forces with drug cartels and producers of illegal coca, the raw material for cocaine, officials say.