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Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 01:18 AM EDT

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Police find $7.2 million cash stashed in suitcases at airport in Panama

Drug TraffickingBy Catherine E. Shoichet (CNN) - It started when police found nearly $7.2 million stuffed in eight suitcases at a Panama airport.

Investigators say they suspect the cash, which had been concealed in hidden compartments in luggage on a flight from Honduras, was being moved for a powerful cartel, but they haven't said which one. The money was mostly in U.S. $100 bills, authorities said.

In a case that highlights the regional impacts of the drug trade, now Honduran investigators are trying to figure out how the suitcases slipped by airport authorities, drug police and special investigators at the Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa.

Authorities have suspended dozens of officers as they investigate, Honduran police told CNN affiliate Televicentro.

Panamanian police, who described the suitcase stash as their largest seizure in years, arrested three Honduran nationals at Tocumen International Airport.

Editor's Comment: In Panama the cocaine moves North and the money moves South. There are many people in Panama City who have a unique problem - too much cash. Money laundering is a major activity in Panama. And just like cocaine busts - in the US when they nab a kilo or two that's considered to be a "major" confiscation. In Panama if it's not a couple of tons, then it's a relatively boring and routine action. 300 kilos is sort of "so what" anymore...

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Customs agents seize 128 pounds of cocaine at Baltimore port

Drug TraffickingBy Kevin Rector and Colin Campbell, The Baltimore Sun - In one of the largest drug busts at the port of Baltimore in years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents seized two gym bags stuffed with nearly 128 pounds of cocaine from a Panamanian shipping container.

Customs agents put the estimated street value of the drugs at $4 million.

"'Tis the season for giving, but sometimes it's better to just seize," the agency said Tuesday in a statement announcing the Dec. 18 bust. (Baltimore Sun)

Editor's Comment: It's funny how "large" drug busts in the United States are measured in pounds. In Panama a large drug bust is a couple of tons...

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The National Air Service Seized 132 Kilos Of Cocaine From A Vessel Called "ELKAMFRE"

Drug TraffickingThe National Air Service (SENAN) seized 132 kilos of cocaine at Brujas, in Chiman, at the Archipelago Las Perlas, through an intelligence operation called “Emmanuel Dios con Nosotros” undertaken yesterday with several naval and air equipment.

This was done with the cooperation of the staff from the Prosecutor related to Drug Offences and the illegal substance was taken by air on the helicopter AN 110 to the Base of the General Command Captain Lloyd Núñez Guerra.

The substance was found in seven packages wrapped in tape of different colors and designs, inside a white and blue speedboat with the name “ELKAMFRE” of approximately 25 feet and with a 200 HP motor. A M16 supplier was also found with live ammunition.

The Coastal Patrol Boat (BPC 3803) of the SENAN saw suspicious movement inside the speedboat on Sunday. The crewmembers noticed the presence of the units and tried to flee, so the BPC 3803 started with its interdiction efforts.

The subjects abandoned the boat “ELFAMFRE” by the shore during the persecution and then fled through the forest.

The vessel was watched by the P306 and then towed all the way to Panama City. (Critica)

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Persecution And Capture At The 12 De Octubre Avenue

Drug TraffickingThe 12 de Octubre Avenue was the scenario for a persecution of 4 subjects by the Judicial Investigations Department of the National Police (DIJ).

The 4 people arrested were being persecuted because they were carrying some packages, which they abandoned by Grill 50 at the 12 de Octubre. It is still unknown what was inside those packages.

The subjects were captured in front of the Banco General at the 12 de Octubre, among them was a member of the special forces of the National Border Service (SENAFRONT), who was wearing his uniform during their arrest.

The arrested subjects were on board of a Volkswagen with the license plate No. 454593. The name of the agent that was captured is Eduardo Fajardo, with the license plate number 53175. (Estrella)

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Drugs Found At Building In Betania

Drug Trafficking

Today, 14 transparent plastic packages with dry grass were found at the Chucunaque building in Betania.

This raid took place at 6am in room 6 on the 12th floor of the building.

During the police operation, two digital cable boxes stolen from a Cable Onda company car were also found.

During this operation conducted by the DIP of Betania and Service Support Group (GAS) 8 people were detained, including 3 foreigners.(Mi Diario)

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The DIJ Seized 53 Kilos In Colon

Drug Trafficking53 kilos of cocaine were seized on Monday in Colon, in the area known as Santa Isabel.

The drug was seized after surveillance carried out by the Tactical Counterdrugs units from the National Police.

The drugs were carried on board of a vehicle in Río Fato. The vehicle was a silver 4Runner that was leaving from the mountains. There were also bags carrying drugs hidden in the grass. (Telemetro)

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90 Kilos Of Cocaine Seized In Juan Diaz

Drug Trafficking

Today, Narcotics Units of the DIJ seized 90 kilos of cocaine hidden in the muffler of a vehicle in Juan Diaz.

This seizure was reported at a warehouse, where cars were being modified in order to transport drugs.

A Colombian who was kept on the premises was retained by the DIJ for being involved in this crime.(La Critica)

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95 Kilos Of Cocaine Seized In Chepo

Drug Trafficking

On Sunday, The driver of a Nissan Pathfinder vehicle was detained by the National Police at a checkpoint in Chepo for carrying 95 kilos of cocaine.

The units of the National Police located a false bottom in the car containing the packs of cocaine, they proceeded to seize the drugs and arrest the driver of the vehicle.

The driver is a Panamanian who came from the province of Darien, he was placed under the orders of the Office of Drug.(Dia a Dia)

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20 Kilos Of Cocaine Seized In Darien

Drug Trafficking

Today, Units of the State Border Service (SENAFRONT) seized 20 kilos of cocaine at Agua Fria, province of Darien.

1 adult and 2 children (a 15 years old and a 16 year old), who were in a Panama - Darien route bus where the drug was found, were arrested during this operation.

The drugs were hidden in banana bags in order to divert the authorities.(Panama America)

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The SENAN Destroyed 21 Thousand Marijuana Plants In La Guinea

Drug Trafficking

Yesterday, The National Air Service (SENAN) destroyed 21 thousand marijuana plants found at Isla del Rey, specifically in the village of La Guinea, in the archipelago of Las Perlas.

According to a press release from this entity, the detection was made during the operation called "La Morena Guadalupe."

This diligence was made in collaboration with staff of the Office of Drug Related Crimes and the destruction of plants was made at the place by controlled burning.(Mi Diario)

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70 Kilos Of Cocaine Seized In Colon

Drug Trafficking

Today, 70 kilos of cocaine kept inside a gray Nissan Xtrail were seized by the authorities in the province of Colon.

Two Colombians who were inside of the vehicle were arrested, as reported by the police.

The operation was made by counternarcotics units DIJ in Colon.(Mi Diario)

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CBP surveillance aircraft leads U.S. Navy vessel to cocaine seizure off Panama

Drug Trafficking On November 30, as part of the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) mission, a CBP office of air and marine (OAM) P-3 aircrew, assigned to the National Air Security Operations Center (NASOC-JAX) in Jacksonville, FL, reported utilizing a P-3 LRT aircraft in locating and tracking a surface target of interest (STOI) approximately 230 nautical miles southwest of Panama City, Panama. The STOI was located and tracked until a boarding team from the U.S. Navy arrived on scene.

On December 2, the JIATF-S confirmed the seizure of 1,012 pounds of cocaine from the STOI.

CBP OAM P-3s have been an integral part of JIATF-S. The P-3s patrol a 42-million-square-mile area of the Western Caribbean and Eastern Pacific, known as the “Source and Transit Zone,” in search of drugs that are in transit towards U.S. shores.

The P-3s’ distinctive detection capabilities allow highly-trained crews to identify emerging threats well beyond the land borders of the U.S. By providing surveillance of known air, land, and maritime smuggling routes in an area that is twice the size of the continental U.S. The P-3s detect, monitor and disrupt smuggling activities before they reach shore.

The CBP office of air and marine is the world’s largest aviation and maritime law enforcement organization with approximately 1,200 federal agents operating from 30 air and marine locations, with 260 aircraft and 290 maritime vessels. (www.gsnmagazine.com)

Editor's Comment: Notice where they picked this guy up? 320 NM SW of Panama City, outside of (or at the edge of) the range of Panama's new surface surveillance radar sets. The drug traffickers know what they're up against, and they try to run the gauntlet anyway to get their cargo through. It's a cat-and-mouse game we've been playing with them since the 80's. We used to call the drug war "the war of last resort." In other words, if there was nothing else around that needed blowing up, we could always focus on the drug traffickers. When the Cold War ended - we shifted to drugs. We've blown up almost all of the terrorists (and those who look like they might be terrorists), so we will be shifting more money and assets to drugs again. And why don't we legalize cocaine and declare the war on drugs a failure? Because if we did, several segments of the national economy would tank overnight. The drug war is, was, and probably always will be good for business...

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55 Packages Of Cocaine Found Inside Of A Vehicle In Colon

Drug Trafficking

Today, 55 packages of cocaine hidden in two false bottoms compartments inside of a sedan vehicle were seized by units of the DIJ in Colon.

The operation took place in the morning hours, after investigators managed to intercept the beige Hyundai Sonata vehicle in Portobelo.

The car had an electronic control panel to open the double bottom compartment where the drugs were transported.(La Critica)

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13 Packages Of Drugs Seized By The SENAN In Veraguas

Drug Trafficking

Today, the SENAN seized 13 packages of drugs, found buried in a cave located on the shores of Punta Mariato, province of Veraguas.

According to the reports, two people were arrested for performing this illegal act.

Authorities said they've been monitoring a speedboat for 2 days and the drugs were allegedly inside of its tanks.(Mi Diario)

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287 Packages Of Cocaine Seized In Darien And Guna Yala

Drug Trafficking

Today, units of the SENAFRONT managed to confiscate 287 packages of cocaine in various operations in the province of Darien and the Guna Yala region.

About 141 packages of cocaine were seized during an operation made in Aligandi.

Also, clashes between SENAFRONT units and members of the Colombian Frente 57 were recorded, 4 Panamanians were captured.(La Critica)

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400 Kilos Of Cocaine Seized From Costa Ricans In Panamanian Waters

Drug Trafficking

Today, three Costa Ricans were arrested in Panamanian waters when traveling in a boat with 400 kilos of cocaine.

As reported by the Costa Rican Security Minister, Mario Zamora, the arrest was made by the American vessel USS Rentz, under the agreement of joint patrols.

According to Zamora, Costa Rica is awaiting the report of the U.S. authorities to seek permission from the Legislature to enter the boat with its detainees and evidence.(Dia a Dia)

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Three Colombians Were Arrested After They Were Found With Drugs

Drug TraffickingThe National Border Service (Senafront) announced they seized nine bags of drugs with 166 kilos of cocaine; besides the two portable radios and three bags of food in Darien.

Three Colombian subjects were arrested for this case.

The authorities are investigating this event. (Telemetro)

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2 Adult Women And A Minor Detained During Anti Drug Operation In Betania

Drug Trafficking

Today, two adult women and a minor were detained by anti narcotic units of the DIJ, in conjunction with officials from the Office of Drugs, during an operation where several alleged packages with drugs were found in the car they were traveling in.

The operation took place at via Tumba Muerto near the Grupo Epasa facilities, village of Betania.

The detainees were arrested and taken to the headquarters of the DIJ in Ancon.(La Critica)

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125 Kilos Of Cocaine Found At A Port In Colon

Drug Trafficking

Today, the National Police seized 125 kilos of cocaine hidden in 4 bags inside of a container at a port in the province of Colon.

It was reported the container was loaded with pineapple and it came from Costa Rica bound for Belgium.

No one has been arrested for this crime, the authorities are currently investigating the case.(La Critica)

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4 Panamanians Arrested For Drug Related Crimes In Pacora

Drug Trafficking

Today, Four Panamanians were arrested for drug related crimes at Las Malengues of Pacora, in the sector of Panama Este.

This arrest occurred when members of the DIJ Sensitive Unit conducted an operation tracking a group of drug traffickers, during this operation a car chase occurred where the car crashed into a house.

According to the report, the subjects had gagged a family in the community of Las Garzas of Pacora in order to remove the drugs from the house.

The offenders fled the scene, but they threw away the drugs when they started being chased by the National Police.

Military weapons were seized from these subjects as well.

Similarly, the authorities raided the house where the family was gagged by the subjects and found a few kilos of drugs.(Mi Diario)

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Shooting Between Armed Groups And The SENAFRONT In Darien

Drug Trafficking

Today, Frank Abrego, director of the SENAFRONT, reported units of this organization conducted a patrol operation in the coast in aligandi, Kuna Yala, and they found about 40 subjects who carried packages of alleged drugs.

The subjects stated shooting at the SENAFRONT units, who approached and began exchanging fire.

Later, the SENAFRONT units were able to seize a machine gun and six backpacks with several packages of drugs inside, these will be delivered to the judicial authorities.

According to Abrego, four subjects of indigenous origin were arrested during this operation.(Panama America)

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Two Foreigners Were Arrested And Found With Cocaine, A Weapon And Money

Drug TraffickingTwo foreign subjects were arrested and 227 kilos of cocaine were seized thanks to an operation organized by the Judicial Investigations Department (DIJ).

This operation, which was assisted by the Drug Prosecutor, started after the Police entered a residence located in San Juan, Colon and searched through the entire house.

Inside the house, with two rental rooms, they found cocaine packages wrapped in yellow and brown tape.

At the place they arrested two foreign citizens, one of them a 29-year-old Guatemalan and a 41-year-old Colombian.

They also found a 9 millimeter gun, three cartridges and 40 munitions.

Besides the drugs and the weapon, they seized over $25 thousand in cash, four cell phones, three watches and a computer.

Two vehicles, a Kia and a Hyundai, owned by the subjects were repossessed by the authorities were they continue with the investigations. (TVN)

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4 Subjects From Veraguas Arrested With $200 Thousand In Their Possession

Drug Trafficking

Today, units of the DIP and the DIJ made a follow up operation where they managed to arrest four people from Veraguas who had $200 thousand in their possession, product of drug trafficking.

Julio Lasso, commissioner of the National Police, said three of the subjects were arrested in the transport terminal in David and the other was arrested in a local restaurant.

The subjects and the evidence of the crime were turned over to the authorities.(La Critica)

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43 Packages Of Cocaine Seized In Colon

Drug Trafficking

Today, 43 packages of cocaine and the arrest of a subject of Colombian nationality occurred in the province of Colon, following an operation called "Broce" held by units of the DIJ of the National Police.

In conjunction with the Office of Drugs and Drug Tactical Operations Units, they proceeded to verify a green Mercedes Benz vehicle traveling through the village of Nombre de Dios, finding the illicit substances inside of it.

The subject was arrested and turned over to the authorities for further research.(TVN)

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One Killed In Shootout Between SENAFRONT and Drug Traffickers In The Darien This Morning

Drug Trafficking

There was a fatal shootout this morning in the dense jungles of the Darien between a column of drug traffickers and officers of Panama's State Border Service.

Frank Abrego, director of the State Border Service (SENAFRONT), said during the early morning hours of today, Monday, there was a shootout between units of this establishment and column of terrorists in the Quebrada La Molunesca, between the towns of El Real and Pinogana, in the province of the Darien.

Abrego said SENAFRONT officers ordered the subjects to halt, who then ignored their orders and started shooting at them.

The SENAFRONT officers then returned fire.

As a result of this confrontation two suspects were arrested, but one of them died. The SENAFRONT officials also seized seven sacks containing suspected drugs.

SENAFRONT continues operating in search of the other subjects who fled into the jungle. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: The drug traffickers use human mules to haul cocaine from Colombia into Panama, and the SENAFRONT is now actively patrolling these remote jungle trails in the Darien. Their patrols result in more frequent clashes and successful drug seizures. During the five year administration of Martin Torrijos, these same officers rarely left their bases, and they almost never conducted active forward patrols into the jungle. If trouble didn't look for them, they didn't look for trouble.

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300 Kilos Of Cocaine Seized In Colon

Drug Trafficking

Today, 300 kilos of cocaine were seized by the National Narcotics Police in Colon.

According to reports, the drug was inside of a container within a port area in Coco Solo.

The commissioner Porfirio Justavino, chief of the National Police in Colon, said the shipment came from Chile and was bound for Honduras.

Syringes were also found in the container.(La Critica)

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Panamanian Authorities Burn Eleven Tonnes Of Confiscated Drugs

Drug TraffickingPanamanian police destroyed on Friday (November 22) 11.8 tonnes of drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, heroin and chemical precursors.

The seized shipments were set on fire in a garbage dump on the outskirts of the capital, Panama City.

The destroyed drugs were seized by security forces, this being the fifth destruction this year.

"The largest seizure or destruction of drugs so far and the fifth destruction that has taken place this year, 11.8 tonnes of different drugs which include cocaine, marijuana and heroin and some chemical precursors," said Panamanian Deputy Police Commissioner Simon Enrique.

According to Panamanian authorities, about 40 tonnes of drugs have been seized and destroyed so far this year, including this batch.

Central America and Mexico are major transit points for South American cocaine into the United States.

Editor's Comment: 40 tons is a relatively "good" year for the Panamanian counterdrug efforts. I always thought it would be cool to build a combination incinerator/power generation plant near the headquarters of the National Police. Cocaine burns pretty well, so why not burn it to generate electricity - and get free air conditioning for the cops? It would be a great PR thing - we burn your coke to chill our beer - that sort of angle. Or even better - we burn your coke to chill our Pepsi? The possibilities are endless.

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37 Kilos Of Cocaine Seized In Avenida Cuba

Drug Trafficking

Today, the DIJ seized 37 kilos of cocaine in Avenida Cuba.

During the operation known as "Patrick" a Panamanian was detained, also the vehicle where the drugs were found and a 40 caliber handgun with 13 unexploded ammunitions were seized.

Once collected the evidence, the case was referred to the relevant authorities for further research.(TVN)

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Drugs Found At A Parcel Company In Colon

Drug Trafficking

Today, Units of the National Police found three packs of cocaine and one pack of heroin at a parcel company in Colon.

The drug was bound for Spain and the west of the United States.

The seizure was made during an operation in the area, the National Police hasn't reported anyone arrested for this crime so far.(Mi Diario)

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58 Packs Of Cigarettes Seized In Curundu

Drug Trafficking

Today, Inspectors from the Department of Prevention and Customs Enforcement (DPFA) seized 58 packs of cigarettes, resulting in an approximate total of 2900 cartons seized in a storage premise located in the village of Curundú.

During this operation a person was also arrested, who by noting the presence of the Customs authorities tried to flee in a vehicle.

It was also reported the suspect was linked to another previous seizure.

Also more than $1500 in cash were seized and it's presumed to be a result of the sales of this product.(Dia a Dia)

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