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Monday, April 21 2014 @ 01:03 AM EDT

Routine Street Crime and Violence

Much of the evening news consists of routine, everyday street crime and violence. Unfortunately "if it bleeds it leads" so the casual observer tends to get a somewhat exaggerated view of the overall public safety and security situation. Although the English speaking expatriate community is rarely effected it's important to remind people who only read the "Panama is Paradise" websites that routine crime and violence occurs. Panama is relatively safe, probably much safer that most major cities in the United States, but there are certainly specific areas best avoided. Recently several high profile conflicts between youth gangs have spilled over into surrounding communities, prompting a government reaction and crackdown. Articles in this category are related to the routine "low level" street crime occuring in the country. If you require additional information about this or any other category of information regarding the Republic of Panama please take advantage of our powerful in-house search engine. And if you still can't find what you're looking for we even take requests! Welcome aboard, and please remember to tell your friends about Panama-Guide.com, the #1 English Language Website about the Republic of Panama. Salud.
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Mulino Corrects Varela - "Murders Have Gone Down"

Crime & PunishmentThe seizure of 210 tons of drugs, a decrease in homicides in the last five years, the construction of 82 police stations in different communities in the country, and the purchase of technological equipment are some of this administration's achievements in security. (more)

Editor's Comment: (And once again, the comments on this article are why you should subscribe. Either you know what's going on, and why, or you don't...)

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65 Year Old American Woman Raped, Found Naked in Chiriqui

Crime & PunishmentA 65 year old American woman was found completely naked and apparently raped in the area of Los Abanicos of David, in the Western province of Chiriqui, Republic of Panama.

The foreign woman was discovered by residents of that community near the water tank.

The residents notified the police who responded to the scene.

They used their patrol car to transport the victim to the Rafael Hernández regional hospital in David, and later she was transferred to the José Domingo de Obaldía Children's and Maternal hospital.

She is in delicate condition. (Siglo)

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Man Executed Near Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal

Crime & PunishmentRuben Oses Delgado, 26, was executed by the road leading to the former Fort Sherman military base, in a forested area next to the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal, in the province of Colon. (more)

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Sexual Slavery Ring Dismantled in Colombian City

Crime & Punishment(Prensa Latina) Colombian and Panamanian authorities dismantled in the central city of Pereira a sexual slavery ring, operating between those countries and Bahamas.

According to the note broadcast by television, among the detainees are three women in charge of contacting, and recruiting young women with economic problems, under false employments and good salaries.

Victims were sent to Panama and in that country the criminals trap them in discos and force them to work as sexual workers.

During the operation members of the Direction of Criminal Investigation and Interpol and officials of the Panamanian Consulate in Colombia rescued two women victims of physical abuse.

According to recent data by the International Organization for Migrations, in Colombia more than 70,000 people are victims of sexual slavery.

Editor's Comment: Ah. So that's why a Panamanian official recently made an announcement they were going to be cracking down on sex tourism...

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One Man Killed, Another Shot in Bocas (Both Americans?)

Crime & PunishmentA 27 year old man died Sunday morning in Changuinola in the province of Bocas del Toro, when he was shot twice in the chest.

The victim was with a friend who was also wounded, in the forehead.

This person was transferred to the Rafael Hernández regional hospital in David, where the doctors who are treating him reported he is in stable condition.

The National Police in Bocas del Toro conducted an operation resulting in the capture of a suspect. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: I was just notified the American citizen Adam Ledford, one of the owners of the Cacique Adventure Tour Company, is now laying in a bed in the Santo Tomas hospital. He was transferred there from Changuinola, after he was shot three times with a 9mm pistol. It should be made clear I am making the assumption this article in La Critica is actually reporting on the same incident, and Adam Ledford was the person identified in the article as the person who was injured. While this article in La Critica does not identify the murder victim as being an American, that also might be the case - I don't know who Adam Ledford was with when he was shot. Apparently the National Police have captured the perpetrator of this crime. (See Follow on report.)

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Mexican Gunned Down on Via Argentina, Bella Vista, In Broad Daylight

Crime & PunishmentThe Mexican citizen Uriel Eduardo Salas Frias, 58, was shot by a gunman in broad daylight, on Via Argentina, Bella Vista, while driving a rented gray Hyundai Accent sedan.

The murder occurred yesterday, at 2:40 pm on Saturday Carnival.

Early reports indicate the driver of the Accent was forced to stop by a second car gray sedan that was going in front of him.

Then a light skinned man, who was driving the other gray sedan got out, pulled out a gun, and squeezed the trigger eleven times.

The bullets penetrated the windshield to impact the unfortunate victim in the head and chest, he could do nothing to respond to the surprise attack.

The driver died at the scene.

Meanwhile, the engine of the car, with plate AB1781, remained on until the time of the removal of the body.

11 bullet casings were recovered. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: Almost guaranteed to be related to drug trafficking. The shooter was probably on an airplane leaving the country before the victim was in a body bag. This has all of the hallmarks of a professional hit. These guys have no fear of doing their job in broad daylight, in the middle of the city, in front of dozens of witnesses, on a busy city street. For those of us who are members of the English speaking community of expatriates, these types of crimes almost never reach us. As long as you don't start trafficking cocaine, you won't have a problem.

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Supreme Court Rejects Coronado's Appeal

Crime & PunishmentThe decision made by the government of Panama to remove the company Desarrollo Golf Coronado from the National Tourism Register will remain in force, after the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court of Panama upheld the decision made by a lower court to reject their appeal.

The decision was issued on 10 February by the Supreme Court Justice Alejandro Moncada Luna, who did not accept the appeal.

The company Desarrollo Golf Coronado was removed from Panama's National Tourism Register on December 7, 2012.

In addition to Moncada, the ruling was signed by Justice Victor Benavides. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: After the alliance between the Panameñista political party and the ruling Cambio Democratico fell apart in the end of August 2011 (that's to Varela's participation in the Finmeccanica debacle), the La Prensa newspaper began to attack Ricardo Martinelli like a rabid dog. The newspaper is owned by I. Roberto Eisenmann Jr., who also owns the Desarrollo Golf Coronado development along Panama's Pacific beaches. As an obvious retaliatory move, Martinelli sent tax auditors to tear apart Coronado, and they found all sorts of accounting irregularities. The government decided to revoke Coronado's tourism status (tax breaks) mostly because Eisenmann was including things like memberships in the Golf course and his Equestrian Center as tourism activities. The short answer is, tourists don't buy horses in Panama, nor do they buy lifetime memberships in golf courses. They might come and ride a horse or play a round of golf, that's fine. But in reality the guys who are buying horses or gold club memberships are not, in fact, tourists.

This decision to remove Coronado from the Tourism Registry will cost Eisenmann millions of dollars over the next many years. Meanwhile the La Prensa newspaper and Eisenmann continue to lambast Martinelli at every opportunity. The fact of the matter is - Juan Carlos Varela will not be the next President of Panama after the upcoming elections in May - the CD's Jose Domingo Arias will. And that just spells more trouble for Eisenmann, La Prensa, Coronado, and Panameñistas everywhere. Mostly because by the end of Arias' term in office, every Supreme Court justice will have been appointed by a CD president. And in Panama, that's game, set, and match. I will repeat my assessment that the CD is positioned to remain in power in Panama for a very long time - like maybe 50 years or more. The PRD and Panameñistas will wither (but not die completely for a long time). It will take something new and different to emerge which does not yet exist - to unseat the CD.

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Carl Baker Arrested in El Cangrejo On New Year's

Crime & PunishmentBy Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - Carl Baker was arrested last night in front of the Veneto Hotel by officers of the National Police, in case anyone is looking for him. This guy has been on the scene in Panama for many years, scamming members of the English speaking expatriate community out of relatively small sums of money, usually anywhere from $20 to $200 or so.

He almost always targets foreigners who are in Panama as tourists, who he knows will be leaving the country soon - meaning they will be less likely to be able to press formal charges against him.

In any case, as of last night he was in a jail cell after having been arrested in El Cangrejo. If anyone has a pending complaint they would like to file against this guy, now would be a good time to come forward and file a "me too" complaint.

In reality, he's been arrested literally dozens of times. The police seem to know who he is, and they also don't seem to care very much. Baker has been in and out of jail so many times I suspect every low level judge knows him on sight.

His "rap" is always pretty much the same. He say's he's been in the US military. That he lost his passport (or something). He needs a few bucks to tide him over until the US Embassy opens on Monday morning. Literally, this is how he makes his "living." He's non-violent and I've never heard a report of him being involved in a fight or some sort of a physical altercation, so therefore he's not all that dangerous (in a physical sense) but he will try to separate you from your money.

In all likelihood, he will always be on the radar in one way or another in Panama...

Editor's Comment: Yeah. Threatening to kill someone on video is almost always a bad idea. But anyway, I added this video because it shows what Baker looks like. And predictably, the police let Baker go (again) because there was no one to press charges against him. This is how he gets away with it - time and time again. Baker has found a "niche" ...

Copyright 2013 Panama-Guide.com.

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A Man Was Found Severely Injured At A Residence In The 24 De Diciembre

Crime & PunishmentA man was found beaten and gagged at a residence located at the 24 de Diciembre.

According to information received, the subject was taking drugs the night before with other people who apparently beat him up later in the night.

The subject was taken by an ambulance from the SUME 911 to the Regional Hospital of the 24 de Diciembre.

One subject has been arrested for this event, who was also found inside the residence. (Mi Diario)

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A Man Was Killed In Vista Hermosa

Crime & Punishment

Today, a man was killed in the area of ​​Vista Hermosa in the 24 de Diciembre.

The unofficial data suggest the victim was at home when some subjects came in and shot him, one of the bullets went straight into his heart.

The neighbors took the victim to the 24 de Diciembre hospital, where he died.(La Critica)

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Truck Loaded With Hams Stolen In A Supermarket Parking Lot

Crime & Punishment

Today, a refrigerated truck loaded with hams was stolen in the parking lot of a supermarket at the 24 de Diciembre.

The truck was later located in Felipillo, but without the hams.

Early reports point out the truck driver left it on and entered the supermarket, when it was stolen by criminals.

The National Police activated an operation, but couldn't locate the criminals.(La Critica)

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Fireworks Worth $15 Thousand Seized In Chiriqui

Crime & Punishment

Today, the staff of the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC), seized fireworks worth $15 thousand in a retail store located in the community of La Union, Renacimiento district, province of Chiriquí, because it didn't meet the security requirements and didn't have the permits required by law.

Abelardo Serrano Guerra, director of Civil Protection in Chiriqui, reported they gave continuity to the complaints received because of the illegal sale of fireworks in the region.

"It's the second time this situation occurs with the same person, last year he threatened our officers when they were doing the inspections and he threatened them again this year, so we coordinated with the SENAFRONT to provide security to our officers, we will continue doing these operations," as said by Serrano Guerra.(Telemetro)

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MiBus Started An Investigation For Sex Tape Recorded Inside Of A Metrobus

Crime & Punishment

Today, the company in charge of public transportation in the city, MiBus, launched an investigation after the release of a sex tape recorded inside of a Metrobus unit.

MiBus made a statement saying they'll take all measures necessary to prevent events like these to happen again.

"MiBus has nearly 3 thousand operators and we will not allow such actions to affect those Panamanians fulfilling a decent and dignified work in our company," as emphasized in the press release.(Panama America)

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3 Subjects Detained For Stealing Iron Pieces From A Company In Colon

Crime & Punishment

Three men were detained by the National Police when they were stealing a lot of iron pieces from the Pilotes del Insto company in a truck, located in Villa Guadalupe, Colon.

According to preliminary investigations some of the detainees had worked in the company, dedicated to the making of steel structures for bridge projects, among others.

It was reported they already had three days of stealing iron pieces.

The number of iron pieces they stole hasn't been quantified yet, but at the time of retention 50 iron bars and the body of a crane, between other parts, were found.(Mi Diario)

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Packs Of Cigarettes And Liquor Found Outside Of La Joyita

Crime & Punishment

On Saturday, Shortly after finding out several people were introducing Gamecocks and liquor into the jail La Joyita, the authorities discovered a lot of illegal goods into the bushes a few meters away from the prison.

The National Penitentiary System reported finding 135 packs of cigarettes, 24 empty drug packages, 9 bags of rice paper, 124 razors, 5 whiskey bottles and a tank of rum, this good were going to be presumably introduced in the jail.

The finding came after preventive actions carried out by the external security of the Prison, as reported by the National Penitentiary System.(Mi Diario)

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14 Year Old Child Was Killed In Colon

Crime & Punishment

Yesterday, a 14 year old child was gunned down at calle 12 avenida Justo Arosemena Avenue, in Colon.

The boy died instantly at the place of murder, the cause of this event remains unknown.

The National Police is currently making an operation to locate the killer.(La Critica)

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29 Cows Seized In Chiriqui

Crime & Punishment

Today, 29 cows, allegedly smuggled from Costa Rica, were seized by agents the of the Directorate of Customs Control in Chiriqui.

According to reports, two Panamanians were arrested and are currently under investigation for this crime.

The cattle was detected in one of the DFA checkpoints, established near clandestine routes in Pueblo Nuevo de El Copal, in Rio Sereno.(La Critica)

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The Interpol Captured Two Foreigners Requested By International Authorities

Crime & PunishmentUnits from the Interpol captured two subjects with an arrest warrant for extradition issued by the Attorney General per request of different governments who were requesting their detention and extradition.

The first one had a red alert at the Interpol, and was being requested by the authorities in Spain for drug trafficking. He is a 51-year-old man, Colombian, and arrived from Trinidad and Tobago.

The second was a 39-year-old man, from El Salvador, who was requested by the authorities in the U.S. for sexual offences. Both were alone at the time of their capture in the Tocuemn International Airport. (Critica)

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A Body Was Found At The Ave. Juan Pablo II

Crime & PunishmentA man whose identity has not been confirmed was found dead at the Avenida Juan Pablo II this morning.

At first the authorities believed he was probably hit by a car, but when his body was turned around by the units of the Judicial Investigations Department (DIJ) they noticed he had a hole in his thorax.

The authorities are investigating this event. (Critica)

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Dead Body Found At Hostal In Calidonia

Crime & Punishment

Today, a woman's body was found gagged and tied in the closet of room 205 at a hostal located in the district of Calidonia.

The woman was found without vital signs by the cleaning staff of the residential.

The subject who was staying in the room with the woman fled after committing the murder, he's now being looked by the National Police.(La Critica)

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A Colombian Was Shot Several Times In Colon

Crime & PunishmentA Colombian subject was murdered in Villa Atlántica, Cristóbal, in Colón. This tragic event took place on Wednesday afternoon.

The man was riding his motorcycle while other subjects shot him five times, according to witnesses that heard the detonations.

The Police and the Public Prosecutor are investigating and running operations to find the murderers. (Telemetro)

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A Woman Was Found Dead In A Hotel In Calidonia

Crime & PunishmentA woman was found dead, muzzled and bound in the “closet” of room 212 in a touristic residential, located in Calidonia.

It is still unknown if the woman was dead by the time she was found by the cleaning staff of this place.

The subject who arrived with the woman fled the scene after he killed her, but the Police is already looking for him. (Critica)

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1 Minor And 3 Adults Arrested For Being Involved In The Homicide Of A Minor

Crime & Punishment

Today, a minor and three adults were arrested after allegedly being involved in the homicide of a 15 year old minor in the district of Arraijan.

The body of the minor was found on the Costa del Sol neighborhood in Nuevo Chorrillo, the body had multiple stab wounds.

No further details were given by the authorities.(Dia a Dia)

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A Man Was Found Dismembered In Chepo

Crime & PunishmentA man was found inside a plastic bag in an advanced stage of decomposition and dismembered from both legs and arms.

The terrifying discovery was reported at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, by the roadside of the main road, close to the bridge that’s over the Terables River, in El Llano, Chepo.

The police was notified by one of the residents through a phone call, who confirmed these were in fact the body of a human being inside a black plastic bag. The strong smell led to the discovery of the body.

During the removal of the body by officials from the Legal Medicine and Forensics Institute, the officials noticed the body, which had no arms or legs, was covered in lime.

The experts managed to determine it was the body of a man, because he was wearing underwear, in this case, boxers. Apparently he was fair-skinned.

The investigators of the Judicial Investigations Department (DIJ) verified there was no one missing in the area; however, in Pacora there’s a file of a missing person in the DIJ, for a month now, and this person has not been located yet.

The body was taken to the Judicial Morgue in Ancon, to carry out a DNA test.

So far, the investigations have just started.

Background

La Critica has reported during the first three months, several dismembered people found in Panama West, when a 16-year-old was found in El Tecal, Arraiján; a second body was found in Playa Leona, La Chorrera; and a third one was found in Puerto Caimito, La Chorrera. (Critica)

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SPI Unit Assaulted In San Felipe

Crime & Punishment

Yesterday, an SPI unit was beaten repeatedly on the head and face by criminals amid an attempted robbery.

The incident was reported yesterday at El Terraplén, in the district of San Felipe.

The victim, who was in his day off, was helped by police units and taken to the emergency room of the Santo Tomas Hospital, where he remains stable.

Meanwhile, the authorities are conducting an operation in the sector, but no arrest has been reported for the assault yet.(La Critica)

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Woman Stabbed To Death In Rio Abajo

Crime & Punishment

Today, a woman was stabbed to death during a fight in the village of Rio Abajo.

The woman's identity remains unknown, she was moved to a private medical center in Rio Abajo where despite the doctor's efforts, she died.

No one has been arrested for this crime yet.(La Critica)

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$4 Thousand Stolen From A Company Employee In San Miguelito

Crime & Punishment

On Friday afternoon, a group of criminals robbed $4 thousand from a Tagaropulos Company employee at Arnulfo Arias, district of San Miguelito.

The victim was identified as 19 year old Juan Eduardo Cerrud, he was gun pointed by two criminals as he was leaving a convenience store in the area.

A police operation was made in order to find the subjects, who haven't been captured yet.(La Critica)

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Another Taxi Driver Was Murdered

Crime & PunishmentOn Saturday night, another taxi driver was murdered in Monterrico, 24 de Diciembre.

The driver, an old man, tried to fight back against his attackers, who shot him several times.

The authorities believe the criminals were trying to steal the money he had in the car. (Critica)

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275 Cases Of Card Duplications Were Reported Before The MP

Crime & Punishment275 credit cards duplications complaints have been filed before the Public Prosecutor (MP) so far this year, according to the Judicial Investigations Department (DIJ).

According to statistics from the DIJ, during the first 11 months of this year, between 20 and 25 cases were reported before the MP per month, making a total of 275 duplication cases. In comparison to last year, there have been less cases, because in 2012 an average of 80 complaints were reported per day.

The chief of Crimes against Public Trust Division from the DIJ, Omar Matos, said the number of cases has decreased this year, thanks to the cooperation of the National Police (PN) and the media, because they have informed and raised awareness among citizens.

“This year, the DIJ arrested three important groups from South America dedicated to the duplication of cards between the months of August, September and October,” he said.

Matos said they seized more than 200 cards from each group.

The official warned the citizens that these foreign bands operate together with people who work at night clubs, bars, gas stations and other commercial establishments.

UP TO 100 CARDS CAN BE CLONED PER DAY

Even though this figure has decreased in comparison to 2012, groups dedicated to cloning cards are using a device called “skimmer” which can clone up to 100 cards per day.

According to the authorities, there are many ways to do this.

One of the MOs of these groups is copying the information from the magnetic band of the card, storing it in a computer and then they paste it on a blank card through a special printer.

Credit cards are cloned the most in the country, said Matos, who warned the population about groups who are operating in areas such as Calle 50, Casco Antiguo, Vía España and Calle Uruguay.

One of the regions in the interior of the country that has become a target for these groups, with a total of 33 reported cases, is Chitré, in Herrera, where 3 cases per month were reported this year.

According to a source from the Superintendence of Banks in Panama, clients must take security measures when they carry out electronic transactions.

This institution advised people who own credit and debit cards to find out about all the possible ways this can be done.

According to our source, the most common strategy is “phishing.”

This crime is successful because the messages seem legit, because they use banking logos and websites or URL similar to the real ones.

The institution recommended clients not to answer these type of messages or phone calls requesting confidential information, because banks never operate this way. (Siglo)

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Woman Detained With Drugs At The Prison In David

Crime & Punishment

Yesterday afternoon, a 22 year old woman was held by the authorities at the premises of the men's public jail in David after 3 plastic bags with marihuana and $300 were found inside of her purse.

The woman went to the prison for a conjugal visit and she left a bag at the door while leaving the room, making one of the narcotics dogs to start barking at the woman.

This was immediately reported to the Office of Drugs and they proceeded with the registration of the bag where the drugs and cash were found.

The Deputy Commissioner of the National Police, Jose Navarro, confirmed the arrest of the woman, she was taken to the headquarters of the Public Ministry to be investigated.(La Critica)

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