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article imagePeruvian gang said to sell victims' fat on black market

By Stephanie Dearing     Nov 20, 2009 in Crime
Peruvian police made a gruesome discovery in the jungles near Lima Peru that may change how people think about some cosmetic procedures.
After recovering several containers of fat that Peruvian police claimed was from one victim, the police speculated that a gang operating out of a remote area of Peru was selling human fat for cosmetic enhancements and cosmetics. Police suspect that at least one dozen people have been killed, possibly more, and the fat was sold to Europe. Police called the gang "Pishtacos." A Pishtaco is an ancient entity in the Quechua culture. The pishtaco is a "horrifying white killer." The victim is killed by having his or her throat cut.
North American experts are pooh-pooing the idea that there is a black market for human fat, given the global obesity epidemic, although one expert conceded there might be a small market. It has now been well established that there is good money to be made on the black market for human organs and other body parts.
One story surfaced about an American cosmetic surgeon who supposedly boasted he used human fat, removed from patients, to power his car. Aside from this oddity, human fat is most commonly used to enhance buttocks and breast appearance, although the fat is supposed to be harvested from the patient. Increasingly, fat is also being used in facial enhancement procedures.
Peruvian police held a press conference saying they arrested four people, but are still looking for at least five other people, including two Italians. Police think the gang lured lone travellers in remote parts of the jungle with offers of employment. Police are now investigating the gang to see if they are responsible for the disappearances of up to 60 Peruvians. One gang member allegedly told police he had been taking fat from people for at least 30 years. Police have not yet verified the allegations, although they have found the bones of several people, along with several small containers of human fat.
The arrested men are said to have confessed to the murders of five people, taking fat from the bodies.
One gang member had been arrested earlier in November at a bus station in Lima with a container of human fat. The investigation continues.
More about Fat, South america, Black market for fat, Cosmetic fat, Cosmetic black market
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