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Peru arrests 28 leaders of group tied to Shining Path rebels, including president's cousin

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LIMA, Peru — Peruvian police have arrested 28 leaders of the political wing of the Shining Path rebel movement, including the lawyer of its imprisoned leader and a cousin of President Ollanta Humala, the government announced Thursday.

Wednesday night's arrests capped a two-year investigation that determined that members of the rebels' political wing, MOVADEF, were responsible for terrorism and financing terrorism through drug trafficking.

The investigation began with the 2012 arrest of one of the last remaining Shining Path commanders, Comrade Artemio, in the cocaine-producing Alto Huallaga valley, prosecutor Victor Cubas told a news conference.

Cubas said MOVADEF leaders met with Artemio but did not provide details about how they related to the arrests. By law, Cubas has 15 days to present charges against those arrested.

Among the arrested were Alfredo Crespo, attorney for Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman, and Walter Humala, a singer and guitarist who has called for Guzman's release.

PHOTO: Peru President Ollanta Humala, left, is welcomed by military honors as he arrives at Rideau Hall during a state visit in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Peruvian security forces have arrested 24 leaders of the political wing of the Shining Path rebel movement including the lawyer of its imprisoned leader and the cousin of Humala, the Peruvian president announced Thursday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)
Peru President Ollanta Humala, left, is welcomed by military honors as he arrives at Rideau Hall during a state visit in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Peruvian security forces have arrested 24 leaders of the political wing of the Shining Path rebel movement including the lawyer of its imprisoned leader and the cousin of Humala, the Peruvian president announced Thursday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

As a teenager, the 61-year-old Walter Humala lived for several years in the home of the current president. In a 2012 interview with the newsmagazine Caretas, he said he was a MOVADEF member but denied ever belonging to the Shining Path.

Interior Minister Walter Alban said the investigation that led to Wednesday's arrests in five states involved wiretaps and undercover agents. He said six wanted MOVADEF members remained at large, one in a foreign country that he did not specify.

MOVADEF was formed in 2009, calls itself Marxist-Leninist-Maoist and ran candidates in 2010 regional elections without winning a single race.

Guzman, who is serving life without parole for terrorism and other crimes, led one of Latin America's most violent insurgencies, which was largely defeated with his 1992 capture.

Several hundred remnants remain in the world's No. 1 cocaine-producing valley where they finance themselves through taxes on drug traffickers and, according to police, also are involved in coca-growing and processing.

Peru is the world's No. 1 producer of coca leaf and cocaine, according to the United Nations and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

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