Highway Robbery

December 3rd, 2007

I was travelling from Trujillo to Chiclayo recently on a bus operated by the company Emtrafesa when we encountered an accident on the pan-american highway, just inside Lambayeque. A truck carrying a cargo of Brahma beer had spilled its load. Crates of smashed bottles of beer blocked the road both ways while people stuck in the blocked traffic scurried about stealing what they could find. The transport police had yet to turn up when the crowd grew larger fuelled by an influx of locals who started climbing onboard the truck to steal more. I am not sure what the drivers were doing or if they were OK.

After 20 minutes of this, about 3 police officers (that I saw) turned up and immeditately began telling people who were dragging crates off in every direction to stop what they were doing. They didn’t of course, they just changed direction. Around the truck things finally got under control, and police started going to search each of the vehicles accused to have stolen crates aboard.

This policeman, decided that instead of being paid to preserve law and order he was instead being paid to go from truck to truck accepting bribes to overlook the stolen crates of beer. He went through this process twice that I saw. The first was with the truck behind our bus where he entered the cabin where the crates were hidden and pretended he saw nothing, with money, handshakes and laughter being shared afterwards. The crew of the Emtrafesa bus, on the 23rd of November 2007 at around 4:30pm also had stolen beer, and as the road was cleared offered the police officer in the photo above a comfortable ride, a sandwich and perhaps more in exchange for overlooking what were at least two crates of stolen beer in the drivers cabin.

Photos –

Tags: , , , , , ,