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Thursday, May 23 2019 @ 05:42 PM UTC

SMN Detects Illegal Alien Camp in Las Perlas

Crime & Punishment By Don Winner for - Panama's National Maritime Service (SMN) detected and detained 28 illegal undocumented aliens that were using a hidden camp on an island in the Perlas chain as a base camp. Most of those arrested were men, and included 28 Asians and one Ecuadorian. Authorities do not yet know the point of origin or the ultimate destination of these illegal immigrants that were being smuggled by "coyotes." The SMN detected and raided the camp on Isla Bayoneta, located to the west of Contadora and Chapera in the Perlas Archipelago. According to SMN Director Rodrigo F. Cigarruista, this operation, named "Black Pearl" was quickly organized after they intercepted an illegal and unregistered boat operating in Panamanian waters with five people on board, three Colombians and two Panamanians. A search of this boat raised suspicious that they were carrying food and clothing for others, and the Direction of Naval Intelligence of the SMN determined that this delivery was associated with the movement of illegal immigrants. Authorities using the new Ion Scan technology on this small vessel and the money carried by the crew detected traces of cocaine. The illegal immigrants were generally in good health, but SMN authorities said they would be given routine medical exams. Operation Black Pearl was a joint operation between the National Maritime Service and authorities from the Public Ministry. On Monday morning the detainees will be taken before the competent legal authority.

Editor's Comment: Panama is a popular stop on the world human smuggling routes. Improvements in the SMN's operational capabilities have translated into more frequent busts of this kind of activity.

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