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Wednesday, August 27 2014 @ 03:12 PM EDT

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Two Men Electrocuted While Trying To Steal Underground High Tension Electrical Transmission Cables in Panama

Crime & PunishmentThe National Police found two men dead in a culvert at the entrance to the Marcasa in the area of Rio Abajo. Benjamin Zambrano, Deputy Commissioner of Police, confirmed the finding of the two people who were killed in the sewer as they were trying to steal a high tension electrical wire. It is presumed they were electrocuted. In the area are staff of Criminology and the National Police, who are initiating their investigations. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: In Panama crack heads steal electrical cables for the copper they contain. They take them back to an empty lot somewhere, start a fire, and burn off the insulation. Then they take the roll of resulting wire cable to business that buys metal by weight to be recycled. They get their $5 bill - good for another rock of crack cocaine - and off they go, good for another few hours of chemically induced happy happy joy time. These guys end up electrocuting themselves in the act frequently. Drugs kill, in many ways. That's why these crack heads are always skinny and dirty - they don't care about anything, including food - and they are only concerned about getting enough money for their next fix. Toss a little mental illness on top of the addiction and presto, you've got yourself a homeless street person, Panama style. In Panamanian Spanish they call them "piedreros" - a rock is a "peidra" so they are named after the rocks of crack they smoke. Here's a news clip of two "piedreros" fighting over cans of metal pulled from dumpsters. In the news clip they say (at the time) they can sell the aluminum they find for 30 cents a pound.

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Youth Gang Shootout With Cops in Mañanitas Leaves One Injured

Crime & PunishmentAn exchange of gunfire took place this morning in the sector Mañanitas between police officers and youthful offenders. In fact one of the minors was shot, but he managed to escape with the aid and assistance of the other offenders. Police officers are now performing an operation in the area to find the wounded individual. (Dia a Dia)

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Vendors Caught Illegally Selling 25 lb Gas Tanks In Costa Rica

Crime & PunishmentPedro Meilan, the Director of the Consumer and Competition Authority (ACODECO), reported that traders on the border with Costa Rica are smuggling 25 lb tanks of gas, a product that is subsidized by the Government (and selling them on the Costa Rica side). Meilan said during a recent inspection conducted jointly with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry together with officers of the State Border Service (SENAFRONT) they were able to detect that five of the thirteen establishments inspected were selling these tanks of subsidized gas. These tanks of gas sell for more than $25 dollars in Costa Rica. The Director of ACODECO Pedro Meilan said both brands of gas tanks are being sold in the area (Panagas and Tropigas). He added that the MICI also found that these facilities did not have the proper licenses to sell these products, and he also said firefighters confirmed the facilities did not meet safety requirements. The officials from the Ministry of Commerce seized the gas tanks. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: The government of Panama spends millions of dollars every year to keep the price of these 25 lb gas tanks artificially low. Of course, the government of Costa Rica is not doing the same thing, so some enterprising "juega vivos" living on the border are selling the full tanks to Costa Ricans, and then taking the empty tanks back in Panama to have them refilled. I saw this interview with Pedro Meilan this morning, and he said there was one woman who owned one of these shops who was screaming about how supposedly the inspections were politically motivated. Well, that means she has probably paid off the local PRD authorities to look the other way, and the national level authorities had to come in to shut it down. These small 25 lb gas tanks are only supposed to be used in residences for cooking - they also bust Panamanian shop owners all the time who use them to cook, to dry clothes in laundries, stuff like that. Abuse of the subsidy. Pedro does a good job, but he needs more people and a bigger budget.

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Punta Pacifica Safe Crackers Caught

Crime & PunishmentA man and a woman were arrested by detectives of the Judicial Investigation Department of the National Police after allegedly stealing two safes from two different apartments, located in Punta Pacifica, with a total of $100,800 dollars between cash and jewelry. The capture of the suspects occurred in Panama City when a search warrant was executed, and during the search detectives found a camera that was part of the stolen merchandise, as well as tools such as hammers, chisels and screwdrivers used to commit the crime. It was learned the thefts occurred on 23 May and 15 June 2012, and the suspects were turned over to the Public Ministry for further investigation. (Critica)

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Home (Apartment) Invasion Robbery in Panama City - Caught Red Handed (Gringo Almost Shot)

Crime & PunishmentA couple was caught red handed Thursday afternoon while trying to steal from a family's apartment located in Bella Vista. The criminals, a man and a woman with gun in hand, entered the condo and then gagged their victims before putting them on their knees on the floor. Through an anonymous call made ​​to the substation of the National Police in Bella Vista, the authorities were alerted to the situation and they responded to the scene, and managed to capture the two criminals red handed. The victims were released. The two criminals had a 9 mm pistol with 15 rounds of ammunition. The detainees are being held by the authorities. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: This happened near 43rd Street in Bella Vista. They were trying to steal from an apartment on the 19th floor of a new high rise apartment building. The man and woman managed to get past the security on the ground floor and used the elevator to get access to the higher levels. Once there, the woman - who was young and relatively harmless looking - knocked on the door and convinced the residents in the apartment to open the door. Once the door was opened her partner - the man with the pistol - burst in and held everyone at gunpoint. Then they tied their victims up using zip ties. When the police arrived, one of the officers from the "bike" patrol went up to the apartment and banged on the door. The girl opened the door partway and the officer had his weapon drawn. Apparently here was a struggle at the door and the police officer's weapon accidentally discharged.

But Get This: The bullet accidentally discharged from the police officer's service weapon exited that apartment, went across the street, and broke the bedroom window in an apartment where a Canadian man was renting. The bullet broke the window about one foot above his head, where he was laying in bed. That guy and his friend had to spend a few hours down at the police station as well, making a report on the damage in hopes of someday getting the window fixed. They called me to let me know what had happened, and I made a couple of phone calls and managed to speed the process up for them a little bit. Luckily, he didn't get injured or killed. Meanwhile, back across the street...

The Cops Beat The Shit Out Of The Guy: I saw the TVN video of the perp being taken in - the whole left side of his head was one big mash, he had been severely beaten. Of course he was probably resisting arrest, and they hit him until he stopped moving. Anyway, bad guys caught in the act and off to prison they go. A broken window but it could have been worse.

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Radio Talk Show Host's Car Set On Fire In Response To Politically Charged Allegations

Crime & PunishmentA commentator who has a radio show in the city of Chitre, Herrera Province, reported his car was burned and he said members of the Democratic Change political party were responsible. The situation occurred at about 2:00 am and according to Jorge Royo, the complainant, it was done in response to allegations made ​​through his radio program, in which he has criticized the layoffs that have been made in the office of the Governor in Chitre. The complainant pointed towards a Deputy in the National Assembly and the Governor as being responsible, and he also said he has received telephone calls. He filed a complaint after the incident. (Telemetro)
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Stolen car found in Rogelio Sinan, Illegal Weapons Found

Crime & PunishmentLast night in the area of Rogelio Sinan police recovered a 4x4 Rav that had just been stolen in the area of the Amador Causeway. The police officers arrested the three people who were in the vehicle and took them to the nearest sub station. Meanwhile, in the area of Roberto Duran two people were arrested for carrying a gun. On the run they threw the gun into a latrine, but the police retrieved it. Minutes later in the same area when some young men saw the police presence they fled the area, leaving behind an AK-47 and 59 rounds of ammunition next to one of the paths. (Dia a Dia)
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They Threw Him Into The Creek

Crime & Punishment The body of 21 year old José Isaac Carrión Valdés was found in a creek in the sector of La Loma, in Agua Buena de Chilibre, with a black shirt covering his face. At 6:00 am yesterday morning a citizen who was going to work came across the body and alerted the police. Carrión Valdés had been shot twice, once in the chest and in the right forearm, a police source said. A source close to the investigation said: "Saddam" as the now deceased was known, left from a residence with two companions in La Unión de Agua Buena towards the area his body was found. Apparently, they were going to steal a weapon from a man with the alias "Christian", but upon reaching the opposite territory they were met by gunfire.

But the family of José Isaac Carrión Valdés says he was a quiet young man, and a worker, and the last time they saw him alive was at about 7:00 pm on Wednesday evening, when he received a call from his girlfriend who called him to meet. Police searched the home of a suspect, but did not find anyone. (Mi Diario)

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Attorney General Confirms Presence Of Mexican Hitmen in Panama

Crime & Punishment
José Ayú Prado - Panama's Attorney General
José Ayú Prado - Panama's Attorney General
Panama's Attorney General Jose Ayu Prado confirmed today the incursion of Mexican hitmen in Panama. In his remarks, Ayu Prado said while their numbers are few, there are Mexican killers present in Panama. Yesterday the Anti Drug Prosecutor Javier Caraballo expressed his concern at the recent cases of executions that have occurred in the capital of Panama City, even in broad daylight, in crowded places, and he did not rule out the participation of Mexican and Colombian assassins. Caraballo said the drug traffickers settle their own debts because they cannot go to the justice system. (TVN)
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Colombian Serial Rapist (Pastor) Had A Church In Panama

Crime & PunishmentThe Colombian news media has been covering a story about the Pastor Alvaro Torres Gamez, who has an arrest warrant against him issued by a prosecutor in the city of Pasto, Nariño department, for the alleged sexual abuse of 27 women, mostly under the age of 30 and adolescents. In an interview with Caracol it was mentioned this pastor has a subsidiary in Panama.

The Support Network for Victims of Cults, a Puerto Rican organization based in Argentina, demonstrated through a video how Pastor Alvaro Gamez Torres, the leader of the Church of Salem, in Pasto (Nariño), was having sex in a private office of the cult, as hundreds of worshipers raise their hands to heaven and make prayers in a room next door, according to the publication o the Interntet website www.kienyke.com.

The man, who is a fugitive from justice, went to the pulpit and spoke to his more than 4,000 followers about the Bible, God, Jesus Christ, fidelity in marriage and spiritual wealth, after having sex with parishioners. Gamez was captured on video and recorded while having sex in his office, after promising them contact with God. One of his followers said the man had the ability to persuade, and he sort of brainwashed them.

The sect called the Apostolic and Prophetic Ministry of Salem, Alvaro Gamez induced them to depart from different readings of the Bible, to refrain from talking to strangers, and to not read newspapers or watch television, because that would affect their spiritual purity, said RCN radio. The "Salem Christian Church" is not only based in Pasto, but has branches in different cities in Colombia and in different countries. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: Come closer to God? He's also been accused of pedophilia because some of his victims were minors. I'm sure they will find more victims, now that some have come forward. Here's the video of this bastard banging a couple of his followers in his office while the rest of the congregation is praying away on the other side of the door. If he was a Catholic priest there would have been little boys on the video. This isn't a new kind of problem, but at least it seems like these types of abusers are getting caught more frequently.

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23 Year Old Woman Abducted and Gang Raped By Eight Prison Inmates During Visiting Hours in Colon

Crime & Punishment"I just asked God for it to be over quickly," were some of the thoughts of the girl who was raped by eight inmates in the Nueva Esperanza prison in Colon last week during the visits. The 23 year old said she arrived at the scene in order to give money to an inmate, as a favor for a friend who could not go to the site. She explained that when she entered the site, some inmates threatened with a knife and made her walk to the cell area, this before the neglect of the prison guards. With tears she recalled that she was abused, insulted and raped to the point that she was in the ER at the hospital. She demands that the authorities investigate the matter. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: When are the government authorities in Panama going to take control of their own prisons? Whoever was in charge of that situation should be fired. Meaning - the warden of the prison in Colon should be gone, fired, right now. I suspect someone was probably paid a bribe to allow this abduction and gang rape to occur. People should be outraged by this kind of thing. The woman tried to tell the men she was pregnant but they said they didn't care. They put a towel over her head, and took turns.

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Customs Destroys Smuggled Cigarettes

Crime & PunishmentThe National Customs Authority destroyed about 2,327 cases of smuggled cigarettes, with a commercial value of over $2 million dollars. These cigarettes were seized in the provinces of Colón and Chiriquí, and some were expired. Most of the cigarettes were seized in the province of Colon, and came from India. The Director of the National Customs Authority, Gloria Moreno de Lopez, attended the act of destroying the smuggled goods. (Critica)

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Arrest Warrant Issued For PRD Political Activist Who Threw Burning Tire At Police Officers

Crime & PunishmentRony Torres, a political activist of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), said an arrest warrant has been issued against him, after the riots carried out by different groups on the campus of the National Assembly to reject the sale of state owned shares in joint ventures. Torres was captured on video and photos while trying to break a glass on the steps of the National Assembly. He participated when the presidential candidate Juan Carlos Navarro entered the National Assembly (by tearing down a fence.) He also threw a burning tire at riot police officers.

"I did it because I felt helpless watching what the Deputies were doing and the police did nothing even though they also have rights themselves, and they went against us," added the activist. He said he apologized to the police, but not to the Deputies because he felt they know what they are doing and the police were sent by them. It was learned that Torres injured a finger on his left hand when he threw the burning tire at the 5th of May Plaza. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: No excuse, and no justification. What he did was a criminal act. I hope he is arrested, prosecuted, tried, and convicted. Absolutely inexcusable violence, regardless of the politically motivated situation. He's not an "activist" but rather a criminal. Plain and simple. He threw a burning tire at police officers. His "apology" doesn't cut it. He burned himself in the act, and if that burning tire had hit one of the officers at the scene in the face (it happened to land between two women) they would have been at the very least severely burned or injured, disfigured for life, or possible killed. So Juan Carlos Varela has teamed up with these guys. I hope he likes his new friends.

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"Kiki" Pinzon Might Have Been Killed By A Jealous Drug Trafficker

Crime & PunishmentThe investigations into the murder of a representative candidate for the PRD, Gilberto Antonio Pinzón Rios, are conducted on two fronts: a possible crime of passion or for his links to one of the gang leaders of Rio Abajo.

A source close to the investigation reported the authorities are investigating a version stating "Kiki" Pinzon had an affair with the wife of a drug trafficker while he was in prison. "It was not about a theft of drugs or because of political affairs. Everything in this case happened because a man was a grieved" because of the affair, is what one witness is alleging, according to the police source. Both Pinzon and the wife of the drug trafficker studied at the same school and they met during those years, but they had lost track of one another. Some time later they ran into one another at the nightclub named "The Building" located in the area of the ​​Zona Viva, where "Kiki" was associated with the soccer player Blas Perez. Since that meeting, they began an affair, which ended when her husband was released from the La Joya prison.

The other version being explored by the DIJ is Pinzon's connection to an alleged ringleader of a gang of Rio Abajo, who is full of enemies, and therefore two gunmen were ordered to shoot the politician, on Thursday night on K Street in San Miguelito.

The DIJ is examining Pinzon's cell phone to find the intersection of calls and photographs held in the apparatus.

Detainees - Three people were arrested for investigation for murder of "Kiki" but 24 hours later they were released.

One of them was Mario Alfredo Mercado, who works in the campaign of PRD politician Katiuska Itzel Ramos de Messina. Another man named Pimentel, was also investigated. "The homicide detectives searched my residence and asked if I knew the chief of Katy's campaign, the lawyer Juan Ramon Messina, and later they wanted to know if there had been a fight or a threat situation, which I denied," said Mercado.

Mercado, hours before the events of Thursday, spoke by telephone with "Pele", one of the aides of Deputy Raul Pineda, and then later he and the lawyer Messina talked, but the call was cut off and the Deputy called the lawyer back and they agreed to meet during the week to discuss the issue of the table juries for the upcoming internal PRD elections.

Meanwhile, the Public Ministry reported receiving information to verify and analyze, and they are receiving the statements of those who were at the scene.

The criminals were following the victim from the early afternoon, awaiting the best time to commit the murder, said the sister of the deceased, Deydicis Pinzon.

File

* Gilberto Pinzon Rios is the oldest of three brothers, one of them is the singer Dubosky. He studied at the Panama Trade and two years ago earned his law degree.

* On July 2, 2000, he was investigated as the suspected mastermind of the theft of $105,573.48 from the El Rey supermarket in El Dorado.

* He was president of the PRD in the village Jose Domingo Espinar.

* On May 20, he was arrested with a 9mm pistol and 8 rounds of live ammunition, but was released because the gun had no firing pin. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: This article was written by a friend of mine, William Sala. He's the best and most experienced homicide journalist in Panama. He's been doing this for years, and he's got the best sources developed within the National Police and Public Ministry. He's also not afraid to report from the point of view of "what we know so far" and with the understanding that things very well might change in the future as more information is developed. William also has great instincts, and he's smart. I've been collaborating with him since the murder of Toni Grossi Abrams in 2007.

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Two Arrested In Murder Of "Kiki" Pinzon in San Miguelito

Crime & PunishmentPanama's Auxiliary Prosecutor Dimas Guevara announced two men have been arrested for the murder of attorney Gilberto 'Kiki' Pinzon. A police source in San Miguelito said one detainee was captured on Thursday night, and another on Friday morning.

The prosecutor Guevara said they are gathering evidence from people who were at the scene when the murder occurred. They are also performing field tests to determine how the murder of "Kiki" Pinzon occurred, who was part of the team of PRD Deputy Raul Pineda.

Police said the 38 year old lawyer was shot 16 times as he left a meeting that had been held at the political center of the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), located on K Street, in the district of Mateo Iturralde, in front of the Manuel María Valdés medical clinic of Paraíso, in San Miguelito. In the attack - which occurred at 11:30 pm on Thursday night - Deputy Raul Pineda's sister Almaida Aneth Pineda was also wounded, shot in the back.

Three Gunmen Were Observed: Deisy Makindo, who was there on the night of the attack, told El Siglo that after the meeting as they were leaving the political center and heading towards their vehicles the shooting broke out that took the life of "Kiki" Pinzon. The lawyer and Almaida Aneth Pineda were the ones who were heading the group - according to Deisy - and she said everything happened so quickly they only had time to seek refuge from the bullets. Deisy and other people who were at the scene who requested anonymity said they saw three young men hanging around the political center minutes before the attack.

Who Was "Kiki" Pinzon? Gilbert graduated from high school from the Instituto Comercial de Panama. He earned a BA last year in Rights and Political Science from the University of Panama. The victim who lived in Las Acacias, in Juan Diaz, was married and had two children. He was the eldest of three brothers. He worked for Deputy Raul Pineda for five years. Relatives commented that in his free time he liked to go out to discos. He actually managed to open a nightclub in San Miguelito, but he had to close it.

From January to May 2012 some 64 people have been killed in San Migueleito according to statistics published monthly by El Siglo. (Siglo)

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A Gang Killed "Kiki"

Crime & PunishmentAlthough some are trying to give a political tint to the assassination of President of the Partido Revolucionario Democratico (PRD), in the village of Jose Domingo Espinar, Gilberto "Kiki" Pinzon, the investigation indicates this was an action of gangs operating in San Miguelito. PRD factions, led by Deputy Raul Pineda and his opponents Kathy Ramos and her husband Juan Ramon Messina, accused one another yesterday of having launched death threats, but initial investigations ruled out that a political assassin might have been involved in the murder of Gilberto "Kiki" Pinzon. Investigators are delving into Pinzon's history to determine the motive for the shooting attack that also injured the professor Aneth Pinzon, the sister of Congressman Pineda. Gilbert Pinzon had been apprehended with a 9mm Luger pistol and eight live rounds of ammunition, but the delegate of the Auxiliary Prosecutor in San Miguelito had to release him, because ballistics claimed the gun had no firing pin. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: That's a new one. I hadn't heard the "no firing pin" gambit before. I guess that's the trick or technique used to get a political operative out of jail when they get arrested with an illegal weapon. Just drop a few dollars here or there and "presto" - he gets released because (supposedly) the weapon was inoperative. It's slick, because practically no police officer would ever check to see if the firing pin was present at the time of the arrest, to the point of including that detail in his report. This is so obviously an "out" used for political reasons, it's ridiculous.

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Off Duty Police Officer Foils Robbery Attempt

Crime & PunishmentSeveral individuals tried to rob the "On The Run" fast food restaurant located in front of Plaza Edison on Tumba Muerto, but an off duty police officer foiled the robbery. There were at least twelve customers inside of the store at the time, and none of them were injured. According to the National Police, when the suspects heard the off duty police officer order them to halt, they opened fire on him with an AK-47 and escaped in a car belonging to one of the customers. After a major police operation the stolen car was recovered in the area of Viejo Veranillo. (Dia a Dia)

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"Raul Pineda knows exactly why Gilberto "Kiki" Pinzon was killed," - Ramos

Crime & Punishment"Raul Pineda knows exactly why Gilberto "Kiki" Pinzon was killed," said the PRD candidate for Deputy Kathy Ramos, during a press conference after the congressman (Pineda) accused his husband - Juan Ramon Messina - of being behind the death of the leader (Pinzon). "Raul Pineda has to be accountable to the country ... he has to explain if there are organized gangs behind the death of this boy. Because Raul Pineda knows exactly why Gilberto "Kiki" Pinzon was killed," said Ramos. The official (Ramos) added that because of this case she has received death threats, which is why she fear for the lives of her four children and husband. She asked the National Police to safeguard their lives.

She also rejected the remarks made by president Ricardo Martinelli who suggested the murder came from internal problems in the (PRD) party. Ramos asked the Public Ministry to conduct investigations into the case for the truth to come to light. She also called for Pineda to be investigated for alleged ties to organized gangs in the district of San Miguelito. According to the leader (Ramos), deputy Pineda wants to take advantage of the situation for his own political good, and to make her look bad. "Raul Pineda is the man who you saw attacking Marcos Gonzalez," and she said she considers him to be an aggressive man. Ramos concluded by saying that if anything happens to her or her family, she blames Pineda and Ricardo Martinelli.

While speaking to the media, Deputy Pineda speculated that, the person behind the death of Gilberto Pinzon and the shooting of his sister Annet Pineda, was Juan Ramon Messina - the husband of Kathy Ramos - who he says threatened him (Pineda) ​​some hours before the attack. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Hmm. This was a sort of strange press conference, I just watched part of it. Kathy Ramos on one hand rejected the statements by Ricardo Martinelli, saying the attack in San Miguelito was more about organized crime and not about politics. But then at the very end of the conference when a reporter asked her about the links that exist - according to her - between Pineda and these organized crime gangs, she said that the Public Ministry should investigate, and that "Ricardo Martinelli should stop hiding (or protecting) Raul Pineda." She accused Raul Pineda of trying to use the situation for his own political advantage by using the attack against his sister as leverage, but then she did the same thing citing threats supposedly made against her and her family. She said this whole thing is not about internal PRD politics, but then her entire statement was about little else. So it was a statement made by a relatively unprepared "rookie" politician who was mostly just shooting from the hip, fueled more by emotion than logic or reason. She said supposedly Raul Pineda knows exactly why Pinzon was killed, but then she refused to say why herself. I expect the answers will come out in a day or two.

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Security Minister Refuses To Speculate on San Miguelito Shootings

Crime & PunishmentPublic Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino declined to speculate about the incident that happened last night in the area Jose Domingo Espinar in San Miguelito, in which the pre candidate for representative from the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Gilberto Pinzon was killed and the sister of deputy Raul Pineda was injured. He said the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ), is performing the steps that are necessary to capture those responsible for the murder of Pinzon, who he understands are minors. He asked people to not link the incident to politics and to wait for the investigations to be completed, and he preferred not to comment because he said there are many components in the case and he prefers to let the authorities do their job. Mulino said on the TVN morning news they are waiting for the motives of the event to be identified. (Panama America)
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Security Minister Asks People To Not Speculate After Pineda Shooting

Crime & PunishmentThis morning Panama's Public Security Minister, Jose Raul Mulino, asked people to not speculate or to arrive at premature conclusions regarding the incident in which Anette Pineda, the sister of the National Assembly Deputy from the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Raul Pineda was shot, and another person was killed. Mulino said the Public Ministry is responsible for carrying out the investigations of the case, in which one person was killed. According to statements by the head of Public Security in TVN News, there might be many people involved in this incident, so it is best to wait until the investigations conclude. Yesterday in the evening, the sister of Deputy Pineda was wounded after unidentified people shot her while she was participating in a political activity in San Miguelito. Deputy Pineda clarified that this situation has nothing to do with the conflict that took place last Tuesday with the Deputy Marcos Gonzalez. (Prensa)
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Juan Ramon Messina Denies Involvement In San Miguelito Shooting Last Night

Crime & PunishmentGiven the events that occurred last night on K Street in San Miguelito, Deputy Raul Pineda blamed Juan Ramon Messina, who is the husband of Kathy Ramos, who is running as a candidate for a position in the National Assembly as a Deputy representing district 8-6 for the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). In response, via telephone Messina denied having any part in the incident, in which Gilberto Pinzon was killed and Raul Pineda's sister Annet Pineta was shot, and who remains in critical condition.

Via telephone, Messina said on Thursday night there was a discussion (fight) between Kathy Ramos and Margarita Aldeano over the list of people who would be serving at the voting tables as volunteers or observers during the upcoming internal PRD elections to be held in July, during which convention delegates will be elected. Messina also said he had not called Pineda, as Pineda had declared on Thursday night to the news media who were in front of the San Fernando hospital. Messina said on the contrary he has more than 15 witnesses who can corroborate his version of events. Messina expressed regret that Deputy Pineda is using this situation as a "political banner" to damage the political career of Kathy Ramos. Messina said he would proceed legally against Pineda for having accused him without having any proof or evidence, and he would present a complaint for slander. (Telemetro)

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Sister and Assistant of Deputy Raul Pineda Shot In San Miguelito

Crime & PunishmentA political campaign team member associated with the National Assembly Deputy of the Partido Revolucionario Democratico (PRD), Raul Pineda, was attacked last night by an armed group while campaigning on K Street in San Miguelito. The attack left one dead, who was identified as Gilberto Pinzon, who was an assistant for Deputy Pineda, and who aspired to run as a candidate to be a Representative of the township. Additionally, Annet Pineda, the sister of Deputy Pineda, was seriously injured in the attack.

The Deputy's sister was taken to the San Fernando hospital. Her family members and several political figures arrived at the hospital, such as President Ricardo Martinelli, in addition to ministers and members of the PRD political party. She underwent emergency surgery because the bullet lodged in one of her kidneys.

Pineda said the attack was motivated by political differences and that minutes before the attack he received a threat by telephone. Pineda also completely ruled out the possibility that the National Assembly Deputy Marcos Gonzalez had anything to do with the attack, as was speculated following an altercation they had during the week. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: Sounds to me like this was more about local political conflict in San Miguelito, and less about the scandalous events in the National Assembly this week. Raul Pineda was the guy who attacked Marcos Gonzalez with a police baton in his hand on the floor of the National Assembly. Obviously, everyone immediately speculated that these two events were somehow related, which Pineda himself has denied.

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Suspect In Dario Fernandez Murder Escaped From Santo Tomas Hospital

Crime & PunishmentOne of the suspects for the murder of the former governor of Cocle, Dario Fernandez, escaped from the Santo Tomas Hospital, where he was detained and in police custody. The suspect, Carlos Barcenas, was receiving medical attention after he was shot three weeks ago. Police officers began their search, and he apparently escaped with the help of a woman. (Telemetro)
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PRD Deputy Attacked National Assembly Vice President With A Police Baton

Crime & PunishmentThe Deputy and Vice President of the National Assembly Marcos Gonzalez, declared to the press he would be filing a lawsuit against the Deputy Raul Pineda, and today Pineda said he is "willing to face it." Deputy Pineda was the protagonist in an incident with Deputy Gonzalez, when he shoved him hard on Tuesday during the session of the National Assembly. The incident came amid a controversy over the discussion of Bill 486 that would allow for the sale of state owned shares in the electric companies. Pineda said the action was necessary, but expressed regret over what happened. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: The PRD Deputy Pineda introduced a Monadnock PR-24 side-handle police baton to the floor of the National Assembly, and attacked Deputy Marcos Gonzalez with it while the video cameras were rolling. Pineda came running up from Gonzalez's left, surprising him, slammed the baton onto the desk, and attacked and shoved Gonzalez in a very aggressive manner. Pineda did not hit Gonzalez with the police baton, but obviously his intention was to cause fear and intimidation. Pineda apparently feels like a real bad-ass when he has a stick in his hands. Maybe he missed his calling, because it looks like he would be qualified for a position on the old "Dignity Battalions" that beat the shit out of my friend Billy Ford. Notice how the Telemetro reporting on this incident failed to mention Pineda is a member of the Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD) political party, because that's the team they support in this game. He's nothing but a punk, and guys like this are the real reason the PRD is losing power and political influence. Hey Varela, happy with the members of your new alliance? Eisenmann? Nada? Do the ends justify the means? Remember that just a few months ago the leadership of the PRD was accusing Pineda of being a turncoat. Maybe he picked this moment to go "over the top" to regain their favor?



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Colombian Assassinated In Broad Daylight - Right In The Middle Of Calle 50

Crime & PunishmentThe Colombian Jose Fernando Castiblanco Delgado, 42, was killed by a hit man who shot him - in broad daylight - seven times and then finished him off with three stab wounds. The death scene was one of the major vehicular arteries of the capital city: Calle 50, in San Francisco, at about 1:40 pm yesterday afternoon. Early versions suggest minutes earlier the Colombian had met with his driver and another person in a restaurant, according to a source close to the investigation. The second person's cell phone rang and he left, saying goodbye.

When Jose Fernando left with his driver after eating, the foreigner was surprised by his executioner. He ran 200 meters for his life. In desperation he got in between the cars that were driving down Calle 50. His executioner, upon seeing his target was escaping, pulled out his gun and fired, hitting him and causing him to fall to the ground, so far just wounded but not dead. The murderer approached and shot Jose Fernando nine times. One of the bullets hit the left door of a Chervolet sedan with license plate 466042. The unidentified assassin began checking the his dying victim and found a knife in his waist, which he sank into his victim's neck three times.

Then, he went to a corner. He took off an orange shirt he was wearing and threw it to the ground with the knife. He put on a black shirt. Then he crossed the scene of the crime where, according to witnesses, a taxi was waiting for him, and he left.

The Homicide Division of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) is investigating to determine if the Colombian was the victim of an ambush. They are checking the images of several video surveillance cameras installed near the scene. Officials of Criminology at the Institute of Legal Medicine counted nine 9 mm pistol cartridges at the scene. The victim had been investigated by authorities for an offense involving drugs, said a police source. This violent event produced a huge traffic jam. The spouse of the deceased arrived at the scene. (Critica)

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Panameñista Protesters Arrested, Being Charged With Crimes

Crime & PunishmentThe Panameñista political party reported Wednesday that a group of their supporters are still being held by authorities after they were arrested while participating in protests on Tuesday in the grounds of the National Assembly. The authorities are initiating criminal procedures against them which should be (according to them) administrative penalties, so their attorneys are following the process. They added the prisoners were sent to the police station in the neighborhood of El Chorrillo. "Right now they are in the offices of the Prosecutor in San Felipe, in the old DENI building," reported the Panameñista party via their Twitter account. Moreover, Deputy Jose Luis "Popi" Varela, wrote "Martinelli giving instructions to the Public Ministry to arrest the Panameñista leaders!" (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Yesterday there were all sorts of acts of violence against police officers that should be punished. Someone set a tire on fire and threw it over a fence, hitting the police officers who were there. That person should be sent to prison for a long time for (whatever the crime is when you try to kill someone using a burning tire.) Free speech is fine. Political protests and differences of opinion are fine. But if you break things, destroy public property, or attack a police officer - then that's over the line. The authorities of the Public Ministry should step in and do their jobs, regardless of what Martinelli says or thinks. The laws are already on the books, and these people broke them. And now for political reasons, "Popi" Varela would allow these people to get away with these crimes, just because they were "fighting" for his cause. Great. More hypocrisy. Like for example - how did the Executive branch negotiate "amnesty" for the Indians who were arrested in Chiriqui? They don't have the power under the Constitution to do that. If someone is arrested for breaking the law, they should be prosecuted. The simple fact that they were arrested during a politically motivated demonstration should not change the basic facts of what they did. Aren't these the same guys who just yesterday were arguing in defense of the "institutions" in Panama, and the separation of powers? Good. Give them some of that. The Executive Branch cannot intervene on behalf of those who were arrested, because they are prohibited by the Constitution. Have a nice day, filled with institutions and the separation of powers, and you can contemplate that while sitting in a jail cell for 30 days or so.

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Man Shot and Killed on Calle 50

Crime & PunishmentA man was killed last night in front of Guadalupe Church in Calle 50, according to a police source. The reasons for the crime are unknown so far. Officials from the Public Ministry arrived to begin investigations. It was reported off the record the body had several bullet wounds. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: Someone wrote and asked if I had any additional information about this shooting, and so far this is all I've seen.

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Blandon Challenged Martinelli To Drop Their Respective Legal Immunity and Protections

Crime & PunishmentThe National Assembly Deputy from the Panameñista political party Jose Isabel Blandon publicly challenged President Ricardo Martinelli to divest himself of the legal protections he enjoys as President, and he would strip himself of the immunity he enjoys as a Deputy, in order to go to court.

Blandon's statements come after a message President Martinelli wrote via his Twitter account, which mentioned the Deputy; "Unjust and false attack on Minister De Lima for having mentioned Pronto Cash Blandon the word Pronto Cash money laundering."

Immediately, the deputy (Blandon) responded in the same way (via his Twitter account); "You just accused me of something you know is false and yet, you undertook to publish this hoax in your diary. You should show your face."

In another message, Blandon wrote; "If you strip yourself of your protections as president, I will strip myself of mine as a Deputy, and lets go to the courts. I dare you."

Later Blandon sent via Twitter; "To be clear, I have no fear of @rmartinelli or his minions. He wants the Fifth Chamber precisely to intimidate his opponents." (TVN)

Editor's Comment: There was one earlier Tweet sent by President Ricardo Martinelli related to this same subject, sent at 7:38 am on Thursday 14 June 2012, which said "Insto a los medios periodisticos y radiales que se investigue y divulgue en el sistema judicial como va el caso de lavado de Pronto Cash" (I insist to the print and radio news outlets they should investigate and divulge how the money laundering case against Pronto Cash is going in the judicial system).

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Counterfeit Goods Seized By Customs Incinerated

Crime & PunishmentIn Colon about 400 bundles of counterfeit merchandise was destroyed, related to cases and investigations that have been closed, and the court has ordered its destruction. According to the Intellectual Property Prosecutor Nayra Fernandez Ruiz, the destruction was done in an incinerator in Colon, located in the area of Monte Esperanza. The products were seized through cases managed by Customs authorities, and others in warehouses where raids have been conducted. Among the products destroyed in the incinerator were dress shoes, shampoo and others. The destruction of additional goods will continue on Friday. (Dia a Dia)

Editor's Comment: Wow. I've seen all sorts of news stories over the years where Customs has seized this or that, but I don't think I've ever seen this - where they are actually destroying the seized counterfeit goods. Normally they just end up on Ave. Central on sale at a deep discount - no questions asked. This might be one more thing this government is doing right, that no one else has ever done in the past.

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New Prison For Adolescent Offenders Opens - Capacity For 194

Crime & PunishmentThis weekend, the authorities begin to transfer the youthful offenders from the Arco Iris Custody Enforcement Center to the new facility in Pacora, said Interior Minister Jorge Ricardo Fabrega. Minister Fabrega said problems with construction have delayed the transfer of all inmates. He said the mass escapes that have occurred in recent days are a result of overcrowding of prisons. Of the 24 adolescents who escaped on Monday, only one remains at large. The new prison in Pacora was built at a cost of approximately $12 million dollars, and it has a capacity to accommodate 194 inmates. It covers an area of 16.298 meters square with 17 buildings, 4 multipurpose playing fields, as well as a machine shop, welding, carpentry and joinery. The new facilities were built after the fire that killed five of the seven inmates injured after a fire was sparked during a riot in the Tocumen Compliance Center on 9 January 2011. The Minister of Government at that time, Roxana Mendez, said there were 315 adolescents detained in six prisons, with a capacity for 272. (TVN)
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