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Thursday, September 19 2019 @ 02:39 am EDT

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Ten of the 14 Escapees Have Been Recaptured

Crime & Punishment Panama is a small place, you see. In the last week fourteen juvenile offenders had escaped from two different jails. In Panama, criminals who commit crimes when they are minors are held in these facilities until they reach 21 years of age, then they are transferred to an adult facility to complete their sentences. Most of the escapees were being held for either murder or armed robbery, so these are bad guys were talking about here. In any case, they got ten of them back, and there are still four more out there somewhere.
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Bank Robbers Got Away with More Than $2 Million

Crime & PunishmentThe six guys who robbed the Multi Credit Bank on Via Espana got away with a grand total of $2,100,700 dollars, according to a police press release. So far three have been captured, and the rest are still on the loose. The thieves entered the bank at about 7:30 PM on Tuesday evening. The robbery took a total of 15 minutes to complete. The thieves were heavily armed, and one of the security guards was pistol-whipped. There was a shoot-out with police when the robbers exited the bank. They made their get-away in a small SUV and a Yaris. Both vehicles have since been recovered.
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1,700 Kilos of Coke worth $40 Million Busted in Colon

Crime & Punishment Officials from the Panamanian National Maritime Service (SMN) and National AIr Service (SAN) participated in a combined operation that resulted in the arrest of four Colombian nationals. They were arrested with at least 1,700 kilos (or 3,747 pounds) of cocaine worth more than $40 million dollars. They were caught in a "go-fast" speedboat 70 nautical miles northeast of the Almirante Naval Base. The traffickers were in a 40-foot long boat that had four 200 horsepower motors and were captured in a coordinated air and sea operation.
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Fourteen Escaped Convicts in Less Than A Week

Crime & Punishment Seven detainees escaped from the Basilio Lakas juvenile detention facility last Saturday, December 17th. The jail is located in Maria Chiquita, district of Portobelo, Colón. Among the escapees are four adults and two minors, who used sharpened objects to overpower three guards and escape, according to Simón Barrera, the director of the facility. Most of the escapees were being detained for either murder or armed robbery. These facilities are used house convicts who commited crimes as minors and they are held until they reach 21 years of age, at which point they are transferred to adult facilities. Last June two people escaped from the same facility and were recaptured. Last Tuesday seven minors escaped from the facility in Tocumen.
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Thief Who Shot Cop During Robbery Turns Himself In

Crime & PunishmentAbdiel Velásquez Ojo, who shot police sergeant Luis Romero last Friday during a botched robbery attempt, turned himself in to police at the urging of his family. Abdiel and his brother Xavier Velásquez Ojo were surprised by Officer Romero as they were robbing the Las Garzas mini-super market in Pacora last Friday. Xavier was captured later the same day, and Abdiel was on the run until yesterday. They Ojo brothers robbed $400 in cash, some cell phone cards, and booze from the store. Abdiel shot Romero in the encounter. Officer Romero is now listed in stable condition, and is in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds to his neck and back.
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Panama Spends $5 million to Enhance Border Security

Crime & Punishment Panama's cabinet authorized the Ministry of Government and Justice to spend $5 million dollars to acquire items such as weapons, ammunition, equipment, materials, food, services, fuel, and lubricants to improve border security. This will be a "direct buy" to supply the public forces without a bidding process. All of the funds are directed toward ground, air, and sea units in the Darien and the Kuna Yala comarca. Of the total, $3 million will go to the National Police, $1 million to the National Maritime Service (SMN), and $1 million to the National Air Service (SAN.)
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Pamananian Prisons are Overcrowded & Inhumane

Crime & Punishment Would you be surprised to hear that prisons in Panama are hell-holes? Probably not. This year, 22 prisoners have died in jail. That's one death for every 531 prisoners. All facilities are severely overcrowded - There are 11,700 people in jail, and the facilities they are in are only supposed to hold 6,845. There are 119 different jails and prisons in Panama, and only one ambulance in the system. As you could imagine, several legal cases have been filed against the government. The problem is one of neglect and inattention; The Panamanian government needs to spend a little more on the infrastructure of the prisons and jails. As they are right now, they are a national embarrasment.
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Police Sergeant in Critical Condition

Crime & Punishment National Police Sergeant Luis Romero is in critical condition after having been shot during a robbery attempt. The sergeant and two criminals exchanged gunfire in front of the Minisuper Wong last Friday. Romero arrived at the scene of a robbery in which two brothers were stealing $400.00 in cash, cards for cell phones, and bottles of liquor. Of the two suspects, Xavier y Abdiel Velásquez Ojo, Xavier was captured with part of the stolen goods, and the police say they are following leads to capture Abdiel, who was wounded by Romero in the shootout. The incident ocurred in Las Garzas, corregimiento of Pacora.
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Six-nation drug ring broken up, DEA says

Crime & Punishment WASHINGTON -- Federal drug agents said Thursday that they have broken up a drug trafficking and money laundering ring that had been operating in the United States and five other countries, seizing more than $7 million, two tons of cocaine and 500 pounds of marijuana. A federal grand jury in Miami has indicted 24 people on charges that include conspiracy to distribute cocaine, distribution of cocaine, importation of a controlled substance, money laundering and criminal forfeiture, the Drug Enforcement Administration said. DEA agents made 18 arrests in recent days in Miami and the Dominican Republic as part of Operation Cali Exchange. The group also distributed drugs and laundered money in the Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia and Panama, said DEA Administrator Karen Tandy.
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Immigration Captures 15 Illegal Workers

Crime & Punishment(TVN) Immigration officials captured 15 illegal workers from Colombia and Nicaragua who were working on a construction site in Farallon.
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Drug Busts Net 3,450 Kilos of Coke

Crime & Punishment (La Prensa) In less than 24 hours, authorities made four drug busts and hauled in 3,450 kilos (7,606 pounds) of cocaine and six AK-47 assault rifles in four operations around the country. Police sub-commioner Juan Cerezo reported police found 2,294 kilos of coke in two containers in the Coco Solo container facility in Colon. The containers were transporting construction materials and tiles, and the drugs were hidden in a false double-bottom that was about 12 inches deep. In Villa Zaita in Panama City, police found another container with a double bottom with more drugs.
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US spends $4.5 million ('06) on Panama's Anti-Drug Programs

Crime & Punishment From Government Reports: "In the last few years, law enforcement cooperation between the U.S. and Panama has been outstanding. The relationship has further matured under the Torrijos Administration, which immediately upon taking office in September 2004 established an inter-agency task force to coordinate narcotics enforcement activities. In 2004, INL funds were used to support programs and activities critical to GOP and USG shared law enforcement objectives. Even before the newly elected Torrijos Administration took office, INL sponsored a planning workshop for incoming minister-level GOP officials to develop a national security strategy. Technical assistance and equipment provided by INL to law enforcement agencies at the border, on key transit routes, and in airports has increased the GOP’s capacity to interdict drugs and secure its borders."
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Panama drug squad chief arrested over cocaine haul

Crime & PunishmentPANAMA CITY, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Panama's anti-drugs squad chief has been arrested in connection with the seizure of almost a tonne of cocaine, prosecutors said on Wednesday. Patricio Candanedo, Panama's public prosecutor for narcotics, said Rogelio Harris was arrested on Tuesday night and is being investigated over possible links to a consignment of 995 kg (2,200 lb) of cocaine seized earlier this month.
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