The next time you buy cosmetics, you might want to check ingredient label to make sure it doesn’t say human.
Peruvian police have uncovered a grisly case with remote Peruvian jungle gangs killing people for their fat, which they then sell on the black market for use in cosmetics.
Several have been captures and one suspect told police that the killers would cut off their victims’ heads and limbs, remove the organs and suspended the torsos from hooks over candles to melt fat from the bodies.
Three suspects have confessed to killing five people for their fat, said Col. Jorge Mejia, chief of Peru’s anti-kidnapping police.
Two suspects who were arrested carrying bottles of liquid fat told police it was worth $60,000 a gallon. Police displayed two bottles of amber-colored fluid seized from the suspects which testing proved to be human fat.
Police dubbed the jungle-based gang the “Pishtacos” after a Peruvian myth of Incas who killed to extract human fat, quartering their victims with machetes.
The suspects told police the fat was sold to intermediaries in Lima. Mejia said he suspects the fat was sold to cosmetic companies in Europe, but had no proof.
One gang member, Elmer Segundo Castillejos, 29, led police to the rotted severed head of one victim in coca-growing valley last month, Mejia said.
Six members of the gang have eluded capture, including the leader, Hilario Cudena, 56, who Castillejos said has been killing to extract fat from victims for more than three decades.
At least 60 people this year have been reported missing in drug-drenched Huanuco province, an area where the gang allegedly operates.