Contributed by: Don WinnerThe local Justice of the Peace, an accordion player, and three others are under investigation by the National Environmental Authority (ANAM) in Los Santos, after they were linked to the illegal movement of about 1,000 board feet of cocobolo wood. David Vergara, the Director of the ANAM in Los Santos, confirmed the fact by telephone yesterday. He added that this institution began an administrative investigation, and there is another in the offices of the Public Ministry, for this alleged environmental crime. During the weekend, officers of the National Police from the station in Pocrí in the province of Los Santos, stopped a vehicle carrying more than 1,000 board feet of illegal and hidden cocobolo wood.
Targeted By The Authorities - Five people are linked to this shipment who are being investigated by the ANAM and the local prosecutor in Pocrí. According to police reports, the illegal timber came from Oria in the district of Pocrí, and was covered by tobacco leaves and empty rice sacks to mislead the police and ANAM officials. In the afternoon yesterday, the seized timber was moved to the courtyard of the headquarters of the ANAM in Guararé, while the impounded vehicle was taken to the offices of this institution in Las Tablas. (Mi Diario)
Editor's Comment: Another of Panama's "open secrets" is that for years, these illegal loggers could just pay bribes to make the inspectors look the other way. Now that's changed, and these people are being hunted down and prosecuted. But of course this is Panama, so you can expect some "selective enforcement" - the game they always play. If you're on the wrong team you have a better chance of being targeted and busted.