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Cocaine and Faith in the Amazon (Part 1)

In part one, VICE News travels to Alto Monte de Israel to meet the apocalyptic sect known as the Israelites, and learn about their prophet, Ezequiel Ataucusi, who led them to settle in the Amazon jungle.

by VICE News
Mar 26 2015, 10:15am

Peru is now the world's main supplier of coca, the raw plant material used to manufacture cocaine. In the last five years, coca production has grown the most in the tri-border region, an area deep in the Amazon where Colombia, Brazil and Peru meet.

The tri-border region is home to a messianic sect with apocalyptic beliefs whose members dress in biblical robes. Known as "Israelites," the religious group migrated to the Peruvian Amazon in 1995 in search of a promised land that's now infested with coca plantations.

In part one, VICE News travels to Alto Monte de Israel to meet the messianic sect known as the Israelites, and learn about their prophet, Ezequiel Ataucusi, who led them to settle in the Amazon jungle.

Watch "Peru: The New King of Coke"

Read "Meet the Man Helping Peru's Foreign Drug Mules Get Home"