An American doing anti-drug work with the U.S. State Department was killed Wednesday when a metal container believed to hold cocaine exploded as he tried to open it with power tools, the U.S. Embassy said.
The contractor, an American whose identity was being withheld pending notification of his family, worked for the embassy’s narcotics affairs section, the embassy said. The blast occurred near Lima’s port of Callao.
The container, which didn’t appear to be a bomb, was apparently under tremendous pressure and exploded when the American cut into it, according to the embassy.
Radio Programs radio described the container as a water truck cistern containing about a ton of cocaine and reported that two Peruvian police officers were also hurt. The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear.
Peru, the world’s second largest producer of coca, the raw material for cocaine after Colombia, has seen a recent surge in seizures of the drug.
Earlier this month, Peruvian authorities seized 1,874 pounds of cocaine in a Lima warehouse that an international drug ring was trying to smuggle to Mexico.