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Saturday, August 19 2017 @ 10:40 AM EDT

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US Looks To Expand "Plan Colombia" To Panama

Drug TraffickingThe US government seeks an ally in Panama for counter narcotics. To achieve this, they want to replicate what was done in the so-called 'Plan Colombia'. (more)

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Colombian police seize 3.3 tons of cocaine near Panama border

Drug TraffickingNECOCLI, Colombia - Colombian police confiscated 3.3 tonnes of cocaine bound for Mexico during an offensive against a crime gang in the country's jungle region that borders Panama, police said on Tuesday.

The drugs, belonging to the Colombian Usuga Clan crime gang and valued at some $90 million, were discovered in a jungle region, General Rodolfo Palomino, the head of Colombia's national police, told reporters in Necocli.

"The shipment was ready to leave on a river to the Caribbean or the border with Panama, to be sent on to Mexico," he said.

Colombia, a major cocaine producer, turns out some 300 tons annually, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Authorities confiscated about 166 tonnes of the drug in 2014.

The northeastern area of Colombia is strategically important for crime gangs and leftist guerrillas who use it for clandestine trafficking of arms and drugs.

The Usuga Clan, which has at least 2,000 members, is the country's largest criminal group. In addition to drug trafficking, it is also involved in illegal mining. Colombian authorities have offered a $600,000 reward for information leading to the capture of its leader.

Many crime gangs are comprised of ex-members of paramilitary groups who officially demobilized nearly a decade ago.

Marxist rebels also reap hefty profits. Cocaine and other drugs are some of the principal sources of financing for groups fighting in the country's 50-year armed conflict, which has killed over 200,000 people.

Just last week, police discovered 3 tonnes of cocaine in the port terminal in Cartagena, a popular tourist hub on Colombia's Caribbean coast. The drugs were also bound for Mexico.

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739 Kilos of Cocaine Seized In Two Busts

Drug TraffickingAgents of the National Air and Border Protection Service of Panama made two seizures of a total of 739 kilos of cocaine, in the center and Western parts of the country. (more)

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Police Seize 123 Kilos of Cocaine In Two Busts

Drug TraffickingUnits of the Panama National Police seized 123 kilos of cocaine and arrested two people during two raids today in the provinces of Cocle and Panama, police said. (more)

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Panama To Establish US-Backed Counter Drug School

Drug TraffickingUndersecretary of State Against International Drug Trafficking in the United States, William R. Brownfield, on Wednesday visited the headquarters of the Panamanian border police to launch bilateral actions to improve the fight against drug trafficking in the region. (more)

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Coast Guard Seizes 719 Kilos of Cocaine Near Panama

Drug TraffickingMIAMI BEACH, Florida — The Coast Guard is reporting an operation in the Caribbean that netted more than $23 million worth of cocaine.

Roughly 719 kilograms of cocaine will be unloaded Thursday at the Coast Guard station in Miami Beach.

The drugs were confiscated during a Sept. 8 interdiction. Officials say a Coast Guard crew was on routine patrol when they spotted a suspicious 208-foot cargo vessel in international waters northeast of Panama.

According to the Coast Guard, the crew found multiple packages of contraband throughout the ship. Thirteen people aboard the ship were taken into custody.

Cmdr. Timothy Cronin says drug smuggling organizations are continuously trying to change their tactics to avoid interdiction.

Earlier this month, the Coast Guard seized about $93 million worth of cocaine during separate operations in the western Caribbean. (AP)

Editor's Comment: About 200 tons of cocaine makes its way through Panama every year. Combined seizures by Panamanian and US authorities total around 50 tons per year. So therefore, about three-quarters of the product gets through.

These traffickers generally do not represent any sort of danger for the 50,000+ Americans and other members of the English speaking community of expatriates in Panama for one simple reason - they are smugglers who are trying to keep as low a profile as possible. Getting tangled up with a "gringo" (for whatever reason) is the opposite of keeping a low profile.

But if you've driven down the highways of Panama, then chances are good that at one point in time you've been next to a vehicle loaded down with a massive haul of cocaine - guarded by a couple of dudes toting AK-47's. That pretty little speedboat out there on the horizon which made your photo of the sunset against the coconut trees just perfect? 250 kilos of coke aboard and headed North. That very nice gentleman you met at the bank with the perfect English, slight accent, and expensive watch? He laundered about $100 million dollars over the past four years.

Just go on about you life - there's nothing to see here. After more than ten years working as an investigative journalist in Panama I learned there's one thing you leave to the authorities to investigate - the drug traffickers and money launderers. If you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. They do your thing, you do yours. Nothing to worry about. And I bring this up because there are probably people out there who are thinking about relocating to Panama as retirees - come on down. These stories about drug smugglers getting busted are nothing more than a part of the scenery, and they do not represent any sort of a worry or danger to the expat community.

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Coast Guard Offloads More Than $93 Million In Cocaine

Drug TraffickingMIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The Coast Guard offloaded about $93 million of cocaine Thursday afternoon on Miami Beach.

The offload is a result of two successful drug interdictions in the Caribbean since August 23.

According to the Coast Guard: The first took place north of the Gulf of Uraba. While on routine patrol, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection plane spotted a suspicious speed boat. When crews were launched to investigate, the suspected smugglers threw several packages into the water.

“It was apparent they had what appeared to be narcotics and after we did the test they had bales on board of pure cocaine,” said Boatswain’s Mate Omar Castro with the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard said four suspected smugglers were taken into custody and 32 bales of cocaine were found in the water.

The smugglers’ boat was destroyed because it was a hazard to navigation.

In the second interdiction, a Customs plane spotted another suspicious boat off the coast of Panama on August 28th.

“Once they spotted the plane, they changed course which is suspicious for us,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class, Joshua McElhaney with the Coast Guard. “We asked them some questions and some of their information didn’t quite add up, so we conducted a boarding.”

The crew boarded the 165-foot Panamanian-flagged coastal freighter Hope II.

“We were approximately 24-hours on board before we got to a hidden compartment,” said Castro.“There was a hidden compartment and once we opened it we found all the contraband.”

The eight crew members aboard the Hope II and the vessel were taken into custody and will be turned over to U.S. officials for further investigation.

The Coast Guard said the eight-member crew cooperated and was taken into custody.

“They were very compliant to everything we asked of them,” said McElhaney.

Coast Guard members who seized the cocaine said this is what their jobs are all about.

“Sometimes we get a little excited when we find the amount of cocaine we found,” said Castro. “It’s about 2,800 kilos, about a ton and a half of contraband. It’s a great success overall. It’s our mission down there besides search and rescue. We’re out there to cause an effect in the drug industry and I believe we made a little dent on it.”

These interdictions were part of Operation Martillo, an international operation to fight illegal trafficking.

“It’s a great satisfaction after being two months deployed and everybody’s tired but you come home with a case like this it’s very satisfying,” said Castro.

The Coast Guard said each one of the kilos is worth $33,000. The drugs will be turned over to the DEA. (CBS Miami)

Editor's Comment: A kilo of cocaine in Panama costs much less - about $5,000 per. The $33,000 number is actually the wholesale price in the US for smugglers - or how much a kilo is worth delivered to US soil, for traffickers. The value then triples to $100,000 per kilo at the street level when it's busted down for individual use. And that's why drug traffickers are in the business - take something that starts off with a value of $5,000 and when you're done selling it at the retail level the value has skyrocketed. They are willing to assume the massive risk of getting caught and going to prison for decades, because if they make just one big score they're millionaires. You pull the handle, the wheels spin around and around, and (whoops) there's a Coast Guard plane circling overhead...

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Four Killed In (Drug Trafficking Related) Traffic Accident

Drug TraffickingFour people died during the early morning hours on Saturday in the community of San Juan, in the district of San Lorenzo, Chiriqui province, after the truck in which they were traveling collided with another car, from which the occupants fled. (more)

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Cocaine Discovered In Shipping Containers - Bound for Europe

Drug TraffickingThe National Police confiscated 80 kilos of cocaine hidden in two different shipping containers, in a port in the province of Colon. (more)

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Panamanian Journalists Colluding With Drug Traffickers

Drug TraffickingThe phrase "journalism against drug trafficking" is now in doubt, after the First Anti Drug Prosecutor confirmed for the first time in our country, an alleged connection between journalists and groups of organized drug traffickers. (more)

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SELEX Suspends Service For Controversial Radars in Panama

Drug TraffickingAmid the controversy over the suspension of the radar project for "serious deficiencies" in their performance, the company Selex company (subsidiary of Finmeccanica) suspended the technical support which by warranty should be offered for the installed equipment. (more)

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Panama Suspends Radar Contract - Preparing Legal Action Against Selex

Drug TraffickingPublic Safety Minister, Rodolfo Aguilera, announced Tuesday the suspension of the project to install 19 radars while saying they are preparing to take legal action against the Italian company Selex, due to "serious deficiencies" in the equipment, and that they do not meet the scope agreed upon in the contract. (more)

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Cabinet Suspends Radar Program - SENAN Was Not Consulted On Radar Specs

Drug TraffickingThe commissioner of the National Air Service (Senan) and the Director of the radar project, Joel Laniado, revealed last night that his institution was not consulted regarding the technical specifications of the equipment, purchased by the government of the former president Ricardo Martinelli from the Italian company Selex for $125 million. (more)

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Aleman Refuses Mulino's Request To Speak Before The Cabinet

Drug TraffickingPanama's Minister of the Presidency Álvaro Alemán rejected a request made by the former Minister of Public Security Jose Raul Mulino to speak before the executive cabinet in order to provide an explanation regarding the purchase of 19 radar sets from the Italian company from the Italian company Selex, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica. (more)

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Varela Says Radars Don't Work - Mulino Admits Problems

Drug TraffickingHours after President Juan Carlos Varela said the radar sets purchased by Panama to combat drug trafficking cannot see the speedboats used by the traffickers to transport drugs, the former Minister of Public Security Jose Raul Mulino said this means the radars have a "calibration" problem. (more)

Editor's Comment: In these comments I describe radio wave propagation and the limitations of radar against small ocean going vessels. Still haven't subscribed? It's just $20 bucks for the year (cheap)...

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More Than A Ton Of Cocaine Busted In The Pacific Ocean, Near The Azuero Peninsula

Drug TraffickingColombia's anti-narcotics police in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than a ton of cocaine and arrest four people in international waters of the Pacific ocean near Panama, according to a press release. (more)

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SENAN Arrested Three Colombians In A Ship With A False Bottom

Drug TraffickingThe National Naval Air Service arrested three Colombians on board a boat with an empty double bottom, presumably being used to transport illicit substances. (more)

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Authorities Seize More Than 228 Kilos of Cocaine

Drug TraffickingNational Police officers seized more than 228 kilos of cocaine, discovered in a van located in the Costa Sur along the Southern Corridor, in Juan Diaz. (more)

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Drug Bust In Panama's Kuna Yala Region

Drug TraffickingPanamanian Border Service agents seized 14 packages of cocaine in the community of Acuatupu, in the Kuna Yala region, that was found in some residences there. (more)

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Panama's Special Operations Forces Searching For Cop Killers in Nombre de Dios

Drug TraffickingPanama's National Police reported today they are performing a Special Operation in the Caribbean town of Nombre de Dios, where last Friday two police officers were killed by suspected drug traffickers.

According to a police spokesman in Nombre de Dios, a small coastal town in the province of Colon, "there are operations" to attempt to capture a gang that ambushed and killed the two police officers, assigned to the Anti Drug Tactical Operations Unit of the National Police.

The deceased were identified as Corporal Alfredo López and Agent Luis Lee.

La Critica reported today police officers are searching the homes of Nombre de Dios, and they suspect the band is composed of Colombians and Panamanians, who attacked the two police officers on a beach where they were guarding a boat used by the National Police.

The report adds that the residents of the village have complained that the police officers have sprayed pepper spray at them when they enter their houses to conduct the search.

The National Police said there is no restriction on the movement in Nombre de Dios, explaining that the controls they have imposed are in response to the investigation of a double murder, and an operation to search for and capture those responsible. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: Normally the drug traffickers simply drop their weapons and run away into the bush when they are confronted by the National Police. It is highly unusual for any drug traffickers to ambush and kill police officers in Panama. Very unusual. The Panamanian SOF guys are pretty salty. They've got good trackers. I suspect they will round these guys up before too long. In the meantime, avoid this area.

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Coast Guard Cutter Seizes a Ton of Cocaine

Drug TraffickingU.S. Coast Guard - ALAMEDA, Calif. – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Active seized an estimated 2,300 pounds of cocaine, worth approximately $37 million, in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean some 140 miles off the coast of Panama late last month.

Active, home ported in Port Angeles, Wash., was on routine patrol in the region when it was directed to intercept a suspicious Panamanian fishing vessel sighted earlier by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection P-3 aircraft.

A Coast Guard boarding team was launched as Active approached the fishing vessel.

During an inspection of the vessel, the boarding team discovered more than 40 burlap sacks filled with cocaine. The fishing boat, the contraband, and five suspected smugglers were turned over to Panamanian authorities.

"I am extremely proud of this crew. They have continually lived up to the cutter's nickname, the ‘Li'l Tough Guy’," said Cmdr. Philip Crigler, Active’s commanding officer. “Through their tenacity we have had great success on this patrol keeping illegal drugs from reaching the shores of the United States."

The Coast Guard deploys assets to both the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea in coordination with other law enforcement agencies and partner nations in the regions to disrupt the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.

Overall coordination of surveillance and patrols is done by an interagency task force based in Florida. U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific occurs under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda.

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SENAN Busts Three Drug Traffickers With 525 Kilos of Cocaine

Drug TraffickingOperational units of the SENAN captured three men, two Colombians and one Panamanian.

They seized 525 kilos of cocaine in Portobelo, in the province of Colon, in "Operation Cristo Negro."

The three drug traffickers were traveling in a 26 foot long speedboat named the "Guerrero."

They had 21 bundles on board, each with 25 kilos of cocaine, for a total of 525 kilos of cocaine, according to field testing.

So far this year the SENAN has seized a total of 3,651 kilos of drugs. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: A big drug bust in the US is a couple of kilos. A big drug bust in Panama is a couple of tons. In this case 525 kilos is 1,157 pounds (or .57 tons). And the SENAN has already busted more than four tons of cocaine this year.

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SENAFRONT Arrests Two FARC Guerrillas In The Darien

Drug TraffickingTwo alleged members of the 57th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a man and a woman, were captured by units of the State Border Service (SENAFRONT) of Panama near the border with Colombia in an indigenous village, reported an official source.

The capture of two alleged members of the FARC took place on March 28 in the Kuna Yala community of Anachucuna, near the border with Colombia on the Caribbean coast, said a statement from SENAFRONT.

The man was carrying a 9 mm pistol, ammunition, a magazine, and two cell phones.

The man and woman, who remain unidentified and who had a "relationship", said they were trying to enter into Panamanian territory in order to qualify for a demobilization program, the statement said.

The Director of the SENAFRONT Frank Abrego said they conduct constant patrols, perform humanitarian activities, and other actions prompting these Colombian "narco-terrorists" to turn themselves in.

According to Abrego "some members of the 57th Front decide to enter our territory because they know the Panamanian authorities will respect their human rights." (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: The FARC is now just a shadow of it's former self. Over the past 15 years the Colombian military has grown more and more capable, and they have maintained constant pressure on the FARC - now nothing more than a drug trafficking para military group. The 57th Front has always been responsible for the area of the Panama / Colombia border in the Darien. And in the past few years the Panamanian SENAFRONT has stepped up their patrolling and improved their capabilities. This sort of activity poses practically no threat to the members of the English speaking community of expats in Panama - unless you are stupid enough to go trekking into the jungle on your own and looking for trouble. Then, your chances of finding trouble zoom-climb to 100%.

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One Guerrilla Killed and Two SENAFRONT Officials Shot in Darien Confrontation

Drug TraffickingTwo members of the State Border Service (SENAFRONT) were injured yesterday during an armed battle with suspected members of a Colombian narco-terrorist group in the Viejo Mijagual Indian village, on the banks of Chucunaque river in the Darien, near the border with Colombia.

Unofficially it was learned that one of the Colombian guerrillas died in the confrontation that occurred on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the two Panamanian SENAFRONT members who were shot during the confrontation were flown in an SENAN Aviocar aircraft to the old Howard Air Force Base, and from there by ambulance to a hospital in Panama City.

The Panamanian authorities have not released either the health condition nor the names of the two wounded officials.

Another detail obtained by this news team is that the incident came as the result of a complaint filed by a citizen in the area.

The SENAFRONT deployed a Special Forces team in response to the complaint.

It was learned that between three to five people were arrested during the operation, and the prosecutor in the Darien was conducting the removal of the body. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: The Panamanian government is taking more and more control back in the Darien region. These "narco guerrillas" are basically little more than armed and organized bands of drug traffickers, who move large quantities of cocaine using human "mules" to haul the loads. They require assault rifles such as AK-47's or M-16's to defend both the cocaine and their turf from rival bands. Every now and again these guys will come wandering down out of the mountains and go into one of the remote Indian villages in the Darien, looking for supplies and food. And the villagers have learned that when they see a band of insurgents, the best thing to do is to report them to the SENAFRONT, which responds in force. This is a big change from five years ago. During the administration of Martin Torrijos they basically allowed the narco guerrillas to run wild, and they preferred to avoid confrontation, afraid that confronting them would bring Colombia's problems into Panama.

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Five Veteran Police Officers Arrested For Drug Trafficking

Drug TraffickingFive veteran police officers have been arrested for trafficking drugs.

A Major with 27 years of service, a Lieutenant with 15 years of service, two Sergeants with 13 years each, and an agent were the five police officers of the National Police who were arrested in the process of making a drug transfer.

The Director General of the National Police, Julio Moltó, said the arrests came as a result of an internal investigation led by the Directorate of Police Intelligence (DIP) and the Office of Professional Responsibility (DRP), allowing them to dismantle the group of corrupt policemen, who were engaged in drug trafficking with civilians.

He also reported that after the arrest of the five police officers, all have have been turned over to the Superior Board for dismissal, and immediately they were handed over to prosecutors who will start their investigation of the facts, so they can face the full weight of the law if they are found to be guilty.

The former police officers remain in custody. (Dia a Dia)

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Three Die in Secret U.S. Drug Spy Mission

Drug TraffickingBy CAMERON LANGFORD - CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (CN) - A plane crash near the Columbia-Panama border killed an American, and blew the cover on a drug surveillance operation run by a U.S. government contractor, the victim's daughter claims in Federal Court.

Jennifer Moore sued the United States of America, Sierra Nevada Corporation and New Frontier Innovations LLC for the estate of her father, Ralph James Dietz.

"Decedent was employed by Sierra Nevada and/or New Frontier as a part of an intelligence operation called 'Prospector,' a privatized United States counter drug-mission based in Panama operated on behalf of, and for the benefit of, the United States of America. ... New Frontier provided pilots and crews for Sierra Nevada's 'Prospector' mission," according to the complaint.

Dietz was on Sierra Nevada's spy plane the night of Oct. 5, 2013, when the pilot lost control and crashed into mountainous jungle at the border of Panama and Columbia, Moore says in the lawsuit.

"On or before the impact, the fuselage of the airplane ignited, burning the decedent's body," the complaint states.

Dietz was 66.

Moore claims New Frontier's pilot was blind in one eye and unqualified to fly the "modified" aircraft, which was loaded with surveillance equipment.

While the complaint gives no details about Dietz's role in the operation, Moore's attorney told Courthouse News that Dietz was conducting surveillance when the plane went down.

Sierra Nevada Corp., based near Reno, Nev., did not return a phone call and email seeking comment, and nobody answered the number listed for Virginia-based New Frontier Innovations.

Two other Americans and a Panamanian died in the crash, according to investigative reporter Aram Roston.

Operation Prospector was launched by a secret branch of the U.S. Air Force called "Big Safari" that granted Sierra Nevada a no-bid contract to track drug smuggling boats leaving Columbia, Roston reported for Vocativ.com.

Moore seeks damages for wrongful death and the "eternity of pain" her father suffered in the fiery crash before he died.

She is represented by John Curney with Curney, Farmer, House and Osuna of San Antonio. (Courthouse News Service)

Editor's Comment: A couple of observations. First of all (pet peeve) - it's "Colombia" not "Columbia." Secondly, see this related article; Exclusive: A Secret Mission, a One-Eyed Pilot, a Fiery Crash in Colombia which spells out the details of the mission and the crash.

I flew on similar "secret" anti drug missions for years while on active duty in the Air Force. They are "secret" mostly because they are intelligence collection missions, and the goal is to collect information on the drug traffickers, and to pass that intelligence to surface vessels so they can conduct an interdiction, seize the drugs, and arrest the traffickers. Of course if the bad guys knew when you were going to be up, where you would be flying, and your full capabilities then they would be better able to avoid detection. It's a never ending game of cat and mouse.

But it's not really a secret that the US is collecting intelligence information against drug traffickers - but the details of the means and methods are protected. Reporters always tend to get all giddy when something has been classified by the US government - and they want to know simply because they are not supposed to know - simple curiosity. For the most part, the work is thousands of hours of boredom penetrated by moments of excitement, or - as in this case - abject terror.

The details about the modifications to the aircraft are troubling. I flew on highly modified C-130 aircraft carrying the Comfy Levi and Senior Scout SIGINT collection packages. You never want to take changes to aircraft lightly, and on the surface it looks like these guys were playing sort of "fast and loose" with the rules. The aircraft was so highly modified it was only supposed to be used for "crew training and market surveys" according to its FAA airworthiness certificate - and that's not what these guys were doing when the pilot flew them into a mountain. The one-eyed pilot survived, so I'm sure he's been debriefed to exhaustion on this crash. Now he will also be deposed as a witness to this lawsuit.

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SENAN Seizes 200 Kilos of Cocaine Off Caribbean Coast

Drug TraffickingPanama's National Air Service (SENAN) seized 200 kilos of cocaine on a boat carrying three suspects near Isla Naranjo, in the province of Colon.

SENAN Director of Operations Ramon Nonato Lopez said the three crew members of the vessel "La Bambina" fled, but an operation is currently underway to capture them.

On a different subject, Nonato spoke about the progress they are making to provide transportation to public school teachers who work in hard to reach areas.

The operation started last Saturday, in support of the Ministry of Education. (Telemetro)

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USS Halyburton Assists in Rescue of Panamanian Crashed Helicopter

Drug TraffickingBy Lt. Mark Day, USS Halyburton Public Affairs CARIBBEAN SEA (NNS) -- A Panamanian helicopter crashed killing one and injuring eight while working together with USS Halyburton (FFG 40) conducting operations in support of Operation Martillo in the 4th Fleet area of operations, Feb. 6.

The names of the victims will not be released until after notification of the next of kin and released by the Panamanian authorities. There were no U.S. service members or personnel hurt in this incident.

The Panamanian helicopter, a Bell 412, had arrived in the vicinity of the beached small craft and assumed monitoring activities from the U.S. helicopter when it crashed with nine people onboard.

The Halyburton, a guided-missile frigate, immediately assumed the role of search and rescue on-scene commander. While Cutlass 466, the MH-60R attached to the Halyburton from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 46, returned to the area to begin search and rescue operations.

Halyburton's helicopter Cutlass 466 transported six of the wounded to a hospital in Panama, while Panamanian forces rescued and are transporting the other two survivors.

Halyburton is currently deployed in the Caribbean Sea conducting counter illicit trafficking operations in support of Operation Martillo.

Operation Martillo targets illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus, and is an international, interagency operation which includes the participation of 14 countries committed to a regional approach against transnational criminal organizations moving illicit cargo.

This deployment is Halyburton's last deployment in her 30-year career, as she is scheduled to decommission later this year. Her keel was laid Sept. 26, 1980 and she was commissioned Jan. 7, 1984. She is named for Petty Officer 2nd Class William David Halyburton, a pharmacist's mate, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism, May 10, 1945, while serving with the Marine Rifle Company, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division on Okinawa.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

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Big Drug Bust in Coronado

Drug TraffickingThe Panamanian national police made a large drug bust in Coronado yesterday.

The Directorate of Judicial Investigation seized 49 kilos of cocaine yesterday afternoon.

They also seized several vehicles with double bottoms, used to transport the drugs.

Five people were arrested. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: No matter where you are in Panama, there could be a massive pile of cocaine just a few feet away, or a suitcase filled with a million dollars in cash...

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Drugs and Money Seized in Costa del Sur

Drug TraffickingAn estimated $635,000 in cash and 92 packets of cocaine were seized yesterday at Mansion #11 in the exclusive Sunset Coast housing development, in Costa Sur, located next to the Southern Corridor.

The seizure of drugs and money was achieved through a joint operation conducted by the National Police and Anti Drug Prosecutor.

At the scene police officers arrested one Colombian, two Panamanians, and two Guatemalans.

They also seized six cars, four of which had secret (double bottom) compartments. (Critica)

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