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Friday, December 19 2014 @ 02:57 AM EST

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TVN Cameraman Murdered - Body Found In Rio Abajo

Crime & PunishmentJose Gonzalez, a cameraman who worked in the Production Department for the TVN Channel 2 television program "Ultima Hora" was found dead this morning near the Reinaldo Grenald gym, located on "11 and a half" street in Rio Abajo. The body was found laying on the ground, before the eyes of the residents of the La Rosita neighborhood and the surrounding area. Thus far the motive for this murder is unknown. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: "11 and a half street" in Rio Abajo - I know the area. This is where they dumped the body of Toni Grossi Abrams back in April 2007.

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Tourists Assaulted On Ave. Balboa

Crime & PunishmentTwo Venezuelans were targets of an assault and kidnapping by four criminals who intercepted them on Balboa Avenue in the district of Bella Vista, with the aim of stealing their car, and then they were abandoned near the University of Panama (UP). The robbery was reported during last Tuesday night when the pair of South Americans, 49 and 46, were traveling aboard a rented gray Toyota Corolla sedan, and were intercepted by some armed men who got out of another car on Balboa Avenue and forced them to stop. With threats, the thugs boarded the tourists' sedan and they were bound and gagged. They stole an iPod, a BlackBerry cell phone and $ 250 in cash. Not content with that, the criminals took the rental car. The thugs left the victims left in the vicinity of one of the faculties of the University of Panama, and from there fled. The foreigners filed the complaint with the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ). (Critica)
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Caught Near The Border Trying To Smuggle - Herbicide?

Crime & PunishmentA man whose name is Tomas Vargas Gonzales, a Panamanian citizen, was detained in the area of San Isidro, Paso Canoa, at a checkpoint conducted by the State Border Service (SENAFRONT) because the place is near the border between Panama and Costa Rica. The incident took place when officers inspected a gold colored Toyota Hilux vehicle with registration 851704 being driven by the subject. Inside they found 250 packages with approximately 100 grams each, containing the herbicide INTTIFADA 70 WP brand, product made in Nicaragua. The product does not have entry records for the the Republic of Panama, so the citizen in question was turned over to the competent authorities, for investigation. This was announced by Frank Alexis Abrego, the Director General of the State Border Service. (Dia a Dia)

Editor's Comment: I can only imagine how much stuff gets smuggled across the border between Panama and Costa Rica on a daily basis. This is about the first time I've seen a story about any effort to shut it down. With regards to the stuff the was trying to smuggle in, it's a herbicide approved by the EPA in the United States for use on soybeans. I suspect they were just trying to bypass border controls to avoid payment of taxes or something like that.

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Detainees At Police HQ in Ancon Go On Hunger Strike (Because They Want To Go To Prison)

Crime & PunishmentA group of detainees who are being held in a temporary detention cell within the National Police Headquarters, Ancon, have declared a hunger strike. Lawyers for these prisoners said their clients have been held in the temporary cells for several months, violating their rights, and they still have not been transferred to a prison despite having submitted the request to the National Penitentiary System. The legal representatives stated they would proceed legally against Angel Calderon, the Director of the National Penitentiary System, for not granting the request of the detainees to be formally transferred to a prison. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: By law a prosecutor can hold a detainee in one of these temporary holding cells for up to 60 days. The rational is that these cells are in Panama City, and the prisons are out in Pacora. The prosecutors want to keep the detainees closer to their offices, to give them the chance to interrogate them easier. After 60 days is up (or before) detainees are usually transferred to a "real" prison like La Joya. Conditions in these temporary holding cells are much worse - more cramped and less comfortable - than in La Joya, believe it or not.

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Three Minors Sought As Suspects In San Miguelito Shootings

Crime & PunishmentThree juvenile subjects are wanted by the police, linked to the most recent acts of bloodshed in the district of San Miguelito. “Hunther”, “Pollito” y “Jonathan” are the aliases named as suspects in the murder of 21 year old Juan Chiripúa Panezo who was shot and killed early yesterday morning in Sector 5 of Samaria.

The investigation obtained so far shows that the murder was ordered from prison, presumably because Chiripúa had an affair with an inmate's wife, explained a source close to the case.

It turns out that the deceased was outside a house in the area known as Deporte, near the Estela grocery store, participating in a party when at 1:45 am as he stood in the street talking to other people, three subjects shot him three times. Chiripúa collapsed due to the deadly wounds he received on the right side of the head, chest and left back.

During the assault 28 year old Roberto Antonio Munoz Garcia was also shot four times, that hit his right thigh, chest and the other two in the left thigh. He went to the San Miguel Arcángel hospital at 2:05 am and he was discharged in the morning. A series of police operations were deployed at various points in Samaria, but the suspects remain as fugitives.

Sources close to the victim only said that this was a young man who was not into anything bad and avoided revealing facts involving his death. (Mi Diario)

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Woman Arrested For Having Defrauded More Than 40 Victims of $400,000+ Dollars (Used Car Scam)

Crime & PunishmentA woman was arrested and is being detained on the premises of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) because she was linked to many cases of alleged fraud. It was learned there are approximately 40 complaints filed against the woman by people who claim they were defrauded by her.

Apparently, the "modus operandi" was to bring the victims to a parking lot where used vehicles are kept to see the product she was supposedly selling, and then she asked for a cash advance to seal the transaction, which never appeared. It was learned the sum total of all the complaints indicate this woman was able to capture (steal) more than $400,000 dollars from all of her victims.

The authorities are investigating to determine if there are other people working together with the woman who was detained. She will be turned over to prosecutors in the coming days, who will continue the investigations. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: So this woman would simply advertise a used car for sale, probably a great car for a great price. When someone responded she would take them to see the car, agree on a sale price, and then ask for a cash advance to seal the deal. But then she would just keep the cash and move on to her next victim. Pretty simple scam. Have you been the victim of a crime? If so, file a complaint with the DIJ. This case is a perfect example. This woman victimized more than 40 people and was finally caught and stopped because all of those people complained. If you've been victimized and don't complain, then the criminal will be free to do the same thing to the next victim.

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Busted Trying To Deposit $17,100 In Counterfeit Bills

Crime & PunishmentThree subjects, two Venezuelans and a Colombian were arrested by the police in a bank located in the Colon Free Zone as they tried to deposit $18,000, of which $17,100 were counterfeit bills. Luis Alvarez, Deputy Commissioner of Operations of Colon, said at 9:00 in the morning they were informed there were three subjects who were trying to deposit counterfeit money. The foreigners were arrested in the bank and then transferred to the prosecutor's office. Police are investigating the origin of money and to see if there are other people involved in the crime. (Siglo)

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Three Children Gunned Down in Arraiján In Front Of Their Mother

Crime & PunishmentThree children (Samuel, Isaiah, and Celestino), belonging to one family, were killed last night by three unknown assailants. The bloody event occurred in sector 3, Barriada 2000, in Burunga of Arraiján. The mother of the three children aged 16, 13 and 9 said at about 8:00 pm yesterday, three masked men came to their house and, without a word, opened fire on her children. Two of the children died instantly, while the 16-year-old was rushed to the Blas Gomez clinic, where he died. The family had only been living in the area for a short time. They moved there from El Valle de Urraca. (Critica)

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Shot Dead, Broad Daylight, Middle Of The Street, In Front Of A Large Crowd

Crime & Punishment Aron Alberto Arrocha Aldearan, 27 years old, was gunned down yesterday in broad daylight and in a crowded place. His brutal murder was perpetrated at 11:15 am yesterday, Tuesday in the parking lot of Plaza Mallorca, in Ojo de Agua, San Miguelito. Arrocha Aldearan, who lived in the area 35 of Veranillo, was walking towards Via Transístmica when he was caught by individuals traveling in a red sedan, who opened fire without giving him the opportunity to escape the bullets. The cries of the people seized on the spot, who observed how the vehicle fled at full speed in the direction of Tinajitas, while the victim was bleeding out due to the bullets.

By the time 911 paramedics rushed to the scene, Arrocha Aldearan had already died and they could only help another man who was injured, so he was taken to the San Miguel Arcangel hospital. The event was observed by a large crowd, including women with their children, as if it were a show.

The saddest moment came when relatives of the victim arrived at the scene to verify firsthand that their loved one was dead. One of the mourners said Arrocha Aldearan "was a young worker and good kid," the father of a three-year-old child who will grow up alone. His family is originally from La Palma in Darien.

More blood is shed - In another bloody event, yesterday morning 24 year old Eddy Vasquez died, who was in the Santo Tomas hospital. Vazquez was shot nine shots in sector 35 of Veranillo, San Miguelito, when at 2:35 am on Monday he was in the back of the crowded convenience store. In this case the police are on the trail of some individuals living in Panama Viejo. (Mi Diario)

Editor's Comment: Blowing rivals away in the middle of the street in front of many witnesses in broad daylight seems to be the new method of choice.

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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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