2 killed as police clash with Peru coca growers

Two civilians in Peru have died of apparent gunshot wounds in a clash between police and coca growers trying to halt coca crop eradication in the Upper Huallaga valley region

The men were killed Tuesday near Monzon. That's a coca-growing area that authorities say is governed by drug gangs where authorities have never attempted eradication.

A police statement Wednesday says officers fired tear gas and shots in the air after at least 800 coca growers from Monson confronted eradication workers. It doesn't explain how the two men died but says four other civilians were wounded by bullet fragments.

Peruvian drug czar Carmen Masias says Monzon is among the last major redoubts of cocaine- trafficking in Peru.

U.S. officials say Peru surpassed Colombia this year in potential cocaine production.