Peruvian Police Dress Up as Marvel Superheroes to Bust Drug Dealers
This was definitely a trick.
Published on November 3, 2022

A gang of Peruvian National Police officers dressed up as Spiderman, Captain America, Thor, and Black Widow to arrest an alleged family of at least four drug dealers in Lima — and global media sources cheered them on.

The action went down in the Peruvian capital’s neighborhood of San Juan de Lurigancho, according to the BBC. Officers dubbed the raid “Operation Marvel,” and apparently decided the best plan for the day would be to dawn the attires of comic book characters while allegedly disrupting a cocaine trafficking ring while pretending to be participants in a school play, according to El País.

Does this sound cute? Consider how terrifying it would be for anyone to hammer down your door, breaking all its glass panes, while screaming — and then when they make it in, they are dressed as Captain America. Indeed, this is what happened when the officer dressed as Cap borrowed an accessory from another coworker dressed as Thor had rather inexplicably carried with him on this official business. Then, ten unmasked police officers stormed in to provide backup to the costumed cops.

The raid appeared took place on the Saturday before Halloween, and the officers’ exploits were amplified in publication as far from Peru as the UK’s Daily Mail.

Because everyone (apparently) loves a good cop caper, the action was caught on videotape. This is how we know that the cop dressed as Spiderman stepped on the back of one suspect to hold them down on the ground. Spidey apparently didn’t even stop to take their mask off before inspecting what police report were 3,250 baggies of cocaine paste.

El País reported that the operation also uncovered the presence of cocaine hydrochloride, 287 bags of cocaine, and 127 bags of marijuana in the small house. Cops said that the family was planning on selling the psychoactive substances in a nearby community park.

The officers stayed in “character” even as they loaded the suspects onto the police truck that would take them away, even though they did don vests that identified them as officers of the law. A photo published by the New York Post showed that they wore the getups even after the bust, accessorizing them with cheesy grins as they posed with the chagrined suspects and a table full of the baggies, money, and cell phones that were among the items seized in the raid.

“In this building an entire family was dedicating themselves to the micro-commercialization of drugs. The drugs were going to be sold in a park nearby,” said police Colonel David Villanueva, as reported by the Post. The publication also wrote that the suspects initially thought the raid was an elaborate prank.

This isn't the first time Peruvian cops dressed up in a festive manner to arrest perps. During the 2020 holiday season, Peru's "Green Squad" dressed up as Santa Claus and his elves during an undercover sting.

Follow Caitlin on Instagram, and catch her Spanish-language podcast Crónica on Spotify and Mixcloud. 

Cover image via video screencap

Caitlin Donohue
Caitlin Donohue is a Bay Area-raised, Mexico City-based cannabis writer and author of She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics and the World. Her weekly show Crónica on Radio Nopal explores Mexican marijuana culture and politics in the prohibition era. Follow Caitlin on IG @byrdwatch.
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