Peruvian police say they have broken up a group who they claim killed people in order to steal their body fat.
Officers say a gang in the remote jungle had been killing people for their fat, draining it from their corpses and offering it on the black market for use in cosmetics.
Eusebio Felix Murga, director of Criminal Police, told a news conference in Lima that the criminal organisation which trafficked “human fat” had been disbanded.
Pictures from a Peruvian police handout video show officers in Huanuco province leading suspects to the spot where they allegedly buried their victims, and unearthing and measuring buried remains.
However, medical experts have expressed doubts about an international black market for human fat, as in most countries it could be obtained so readily and in such amounts from people who are willing and ready to donate it.
– via itn
Four people were arrested in Peru in an investigation into the killing of people for their body fat, which was perhaps sent to Europe to be used in cosmetics.
International authorities said they are looking for at least five other people in the alleged ring, which would lure victims with a job offer and kill them. Body was fat was extracted and sold for about $60,000 a gallon.
The disappearances of 60 people have been linked to the alleged scheme. Peruvian investigators said one of the suspects has been killing for human fat for more than 30 years.
They said they suspected the body fat was being sent to Europe, although no hard link was developed. Some of the at-large suspects are Europeans.
Such fat is regularly used to treat wrinkles but it is usually extracted from another part, such as the stomach or buttocks, of the patient's body. One doctor told The Times of London to use fat from another person could result in a risk of “life-threatening consequences.”