Nov 21, 2009 12:31 AM GMT
SkyNews © Sky News 2009Yesterday, 10:31 am
Members of a gang arrested in Peru have confessed to killing people and extracting their body fat to sell to international cosmetic companies, police claim. Skip related content
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Three men were tracked down in the jungle of remote Huanuco province, where officials also found human remains and two bottles of fat.
Colonel Jorge Mejia, chief of Peru's anti-kidnapping police, told reporters the trio admitted to the murder of five people - and to draining the corpses.
The men revealed one litre of human fat could fetch $15,000 (more than £9,000), he added.
Describing the grisly method of fat extraction, Col Mejia said the gang would cut off victims' heads and limbs, take out the organs and then hang the torsos above candles to heat the flesh - letting the fat drip into tubs below.
It was then sold on to intermediaries in Peru's capital Lima, before heading to cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies in Europe.
However, Col Mejia conceded police could not confirm any fat had been sold.
Medical experts have cast doubt on the trade of human fat but said it was used in anti-wrinkle treatments.
The fat is normally always taken from a living patient, usually from the stomach or buttocks.
"I can't see why there would be a black market for fat," said Dr Adam Katz, a professor of plastic surgery at the University of Virginia medical school.
"It doesn't make any sense at all, because in most countries we can get fat so readily and in such amounts from people who are willing and ready to donate that I don't see why there would ever be a black market for fat."
Peruvian authorities said at least six men remained at large - including alleged gang leader, Hilario Cudena.
One of the men in custody reportedly told police Cudena has been killing people for their fat for more than 30 years.
15k Damn.........Apparently my ass is worth more than my bank account