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Friday, August 29 2014 @ 01:32 AM EDT

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Panamanian Woman Arrested In Spain With Cocaine Filled Breast Implants

Drug TraffickingA Panamanian female passenger who was traveling from Colombia to Spain was caught with two breast implants filled with 1.3 kilos of cocaine, and was arrested by the Spanish police at the Barcelona airport.

The woman, who landed at Barcelona's El Prat airport on a flight from Bogota, raised the suspicions of the agents because of her ambiguous answers about the reasons for her journey, according to police.

Faced with the possibility that she could be transporting drugs, the woman was examined and the police found she had two bloodstained gauze pads covering open wounds under her breasts.

The passenger, a 20-year-old woman, claimed she had an operation two months ago for breast implants, but the wound had not finished healing.

Through these wounds, police glimpsed a white foreign body, so medical personnel from the Customs Service ordered an x-ray examination and sent the passenger to the hospital, noting abnormalities in the breast implants.

In the hospital, she underwent surgery and the bags filled with cocaine were extracted from her breasts, with a total weight of 1.377 kilos of cocaine.

Editor's Comment: Cocaine filled breast implants? Now I've heard it all...

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108 Kilos of Cocaine Busted In Eastern Panama Province

Drug TraffickingAbout 108 kilos of cocaine were seized at a residence in the Eastern part of the province of Panama. This drug seizure is part of the result of an operation that took place in different parts of the area. As part of the operation seven people were arrested who have been linked to the possession and sale of drugs. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: There's an effort to try to raise the "drug sub" that sank this week in deep water about 40 kilometers from Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro. Supposed there's about three or four tons of cocaine on board. The three people who were arrested - plucked from the ocean floating with three bales of cocaine - are not talking. One person died as they scuttled the sub. Most of the crime in Panama can be linked to drug trafficking in one way or the other.

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Cocaine-laden ‘narcosub' sinks in Panama

Drug TraffickingONE person has been killed and three arrested when a semi-submersible craft loaded with cocaine sank off the coast of Panama while being chased by the Costa Rican Coast Guard, officials say.

Costa Rica anti-drug commissioner Mauricio Boraschi said 66 packages of cocaine, each weighing about one kilo, came to the surface after the craft went down in deep water near the Panama-Costa Rica border on Wednesday.

Experts believe some 4000 kilos of cocaine went to the bottom of the ocean with the vessel sank, he said.

One suspect - the man believed to have pulled the plug to let the craft sink - was dead when the Coast Guard arrived, Boraschi said.

The Costa Rican Coast Guard was tipped off about the semi-submersible by a US plane on an anti-drug overflight, and chased the craft into Panamanian waters.

"When we arrived to rescue a US ship arrived and then a Panamanian airplane ... to provide help, and the suspects surrendered along with their products," Boraschi said.

Custom-built semi-submersible crafts, often built out of fiberglass and equipped with electric-diesel engines, are commonly used by drug cartels to smuggle cocaine from labs in South America to staging points in central America, and then to be smuggled into the United States via Mexico.

The typical "narco-subs" operates largely underwater, with just the cockpit and exhaust pipes above surface. (AAP)

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Three Rescued After Semi Submersible Drug Boat Sinks Near Isla Colon in Bocas Del Toro

Drug TraffickingNaval authorities rescued two Hondurans and a Colombian in Panamanian Caribbean waters, and found several bags floating near them with at least 75 kilos of cocaine.

The foreigners were found on Monday night about 15 nautical miles from Isla Colon in the province of Bocas del Toro, during a joint anti-drug action with the U.S. Coast Guard and maritime authorities of Costa Rica and Panama.

Three bales were found floating near them, each with about 25 kilos of cocaine, authorities estimated.

The rescued suspects were taken to a police station on Isla Colon in Panama, said Roberto Ballesteros, a spokesman for the National Air Service of Panama.

It is assumed that the foreigners were traveling in a semi submersible, which they scuttled, according to the spokesman.

The Panamanian naval officers continued to patrol the area in search of more drugs, while the Anti Drug Prosecutor went to the site to investigate the case, said Ballesteros.

The Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Panama have been used for years for the smuggling of drugs from South America to Central and North America.

Panama is considered the country where the most cocaine is seized in the world, after the United States and Colombia, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (Critica)

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Authorities Confirm Seizure Of Drug Packed Semisubmersible in Bocas del Toro

Drug TraffickingPanama's National Aero Naval Service (SENAN) confirmed the arrest of three foreigners and the confiscation of a semi-submersible in the area of ​​Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro. The ship was being followed from Costa Rica after being detected by U.S. authorities, and it was finally captured in Panamanian waters.

Although there is information available detailing the death of one of the ship's crew, Roberto Ballesteros, a Senan spokesman, warned on the channel 2 TVN morning news broadcast that they cannot work on the basis of speculation, so they will wait until the necessary investigations (are complete). Ballesteros said three bales of suspected illegal substances were found floating near the semi-submarine, to which it will be up to the Anti Drug Prosecutor to verify what type of substance is involved. (Panama America)

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SENAFRONT Seized 1,500 Kilos (A Ton And A Half) Of Cocaine In The Darien

Drug TraffickingThe State Border Service (SENAFRONT) seized around 1,500 thousand packages of alleged cocaine in the province of Darien, said Frank Abrego, commissioner of the institution, this Monday, December 3.

Abrego said SENAFRONT units were patrolling the area when they identified a boat whose crew left it stranded and fled, when they noticed the presence of the officers.

About 60 bags full of cocaine were confiscated, each with 25 kilos, bringing the estimated total to about 1,500 kilos of cocaine seized, or about a ton and a half, according to the SENAFRONT.

Abrego said the Prosecutor is currently making an official count and will announce the information in a press release.

Three people were arrested as the tried to flee the scene, said Abrego. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Wow. Massive bust. That's a lot of blow. The street value of a kilo of cocaine (wholesale) in Panama is $4,500 each. So, this load is worth $6.75 million on the ground in Panama. If you can get it to Atlanta then the wholesale value jumps to $26,000 per kilo or $39 million. Cut and distributed at a retail level on the street, the value is $100,000 per kilo or a total of $150 million.

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Prosecutor Calls 12 To Trial For Human and Drug Trafficking Network

Drug TraffickingThe First Anti Drug Prosecutor asked for there to be a trial against 12 people who are accused of belonging to a network of human traffickers traffickers who also sold drugs in nightclubs located on Via Veneto, in Panama City, including one American citizen.

According to the conclusions of the prosecutor Javier Caraballo, those involved are the American Antony James Galeota, the Israeli Alon Bar, the Ukranian Osleksandr Philischuk, a Russian citizen Olga Sablina, the Colombians Laura Correal Horta and Jessica Sulay Ardila, and the Panamanians Anel Castillo, Luis Yepes, Walter Thorne, Ángel Ramos, Alexander Ortega and Norman Beckfor Ford.

The network was dismantled after an operation carried out on 17 June 2011 in the bars Moulin Rouge and Doll House on Via Veneto, and Habano's Café located in the banking district.

During the operation it was discovered that 90 women were being exploited as sex workers.

The prosecutor's request (for a trial) was forwarded to the Third Criminal Court, which has not yet set a date for the hearing. (Prensa)

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57 Kilos of Cocaine Busted - Enroute From Peru to Italy

Drug TraffickingColon - Authorities found at least 75 packages of cocaine that were transiting through a seaport, located on 11th Street and Front Avenue in the City of Colon.

The illicit substance was found in two containers that came from Peru, reports said.

The first container searched had a bag inside containing 17 packages, while the second container had two suitcases with 58 packages of the same substance.

The Narcotics Section of the National Police and the Anti Drug Prosecutor from Colon and the Kuna Yala participated in the surprise searches.

No arrests have been made in the case.

It was learned that the drugs were bound for Italy. (Prensa)

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Several Drug Busts In Colon Province (One Of Them A "Foreigner" Towing A Yacht)

Drug TraffickingA total of 139 kilos of cocaine and 25 bundles of marijuana were seized in Bocas del Toro and Colon in recent days, according to the National Police.

Authorities also seized a vehicle, a boat, a trailer and a motorcycle.

A press release from the National Police said the seizures were the result of three different intelligence operations carried out in recent days by counter narcotics units of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) of Bocas del Toro and Colon.

The first operation in Bocas del Toro resulted in the seizure of 108 packages of cocaine, which were hidden in two containers located in the port of Almirante. They were destined for a European country. In this case no arrests have been made.

Meanwhile, judicial investigators in the province of Colón seized 25 packages of marijuana and 11 kilos of suspected cocaine, as the result of an intelligence investigation, on the main road in the village of Sabanitas.

The illegal goods were concealed in a vehicle with a false bottom, which was towing a yacht, and a motorcycle was seized that was inside of the vehicle. In this case a foreigner was arrested who was driving the vehicle.

In other action, judicial investigators in Colon seized another 20 packages of cocaine, this time inside the evaporator motor of a refrigerated container, which was parked at the Port of Manzanillo. (Mi Diario)

Editor's Comment: A foreigner, driving a pickup truck with a motorcycle in the back, towing a yacht? OK, who got popped?

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1,500 Kilos of Cocaine Busted Over The Weekend In Panama City

Drug TraffickingThe deputy director of the Direction of Judicial Information (DIJ) Alexis Muñoz said four intelligence operations conducted during the weekend could result in the seizure of more than 1,500 kilos of cocaine. The intelligence operations took place in Condado del Rey, Bella Vista, Juan Diaz and other parts of the city. He also said they arrested 14 people who were involved in drug trafficking, among them Colombians and Panamanians. Additionally they seized $20,000 in cash, weapons and vehicles. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: Holy crap. That's a relatively large bust, even by Panamanian standards. One kilo of cocaine on the ground in Panama has a wholesale value of about $4,500 so 1,500 kilos is worth about $6.75 million. Once the load makes it to the United States, the wholesale value on the ground in Atlanta jumps to about $26,000 per kilo, giving this 1,500 kilos a value of about $39 million dollars. But on the street, cut, and distributed at the retail level cocaine has a value of about $100 per gram or $100,000 per kilo - so 1,500 kilos has a street value of more than $150 million. In case you're wondering, that's a 2,122% markup from wholesale in Panama to retail on the streets of Chicago.

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SENAFRONT Seized 555 Kilos of Cocaine In The Darien

Drug TraffickingBarriales, Darién - The State Border Service (SENAFRONT) seized this Wednesday, November 7, 555 packages of alleged cocaine in the community of Barriales in the province of Darien. The drugs were found hidden inside of a wooden boat on the Barriales river. The SENAFRONT reported they also seized two AK-47 assault rifles, 389 rounds of ammunition, and two magazines loaded with another 30 rounds of ammunition. A Panamanian was traveling in the boat at the time of the seizure. He was arrested and turned over to the competent authorities. (Prensa)

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Very Large - One Ton or More - Drug Bust On San Jose Island in Panama

Drug TraffickingA shipment of cocaine was found near Playa Esmeralda, on San Jose island in the Perlas islands, by officers of the National Naval Air Service. The drugs had been stashed in a specially built hide site, packed in bags and marked with logos. The Anti Drug Prosecutor was present at the seizure on this island in the Pacific, and this is the first time a seizure of this magnitude has been made on this island. At the same time they found two fuel tanks, but there was no one in the area, or boats.

The drugs had been stashed in an inhospitable area, full of trees and close to the sea, and has been guarded since Tuesday by SENAN units, who are cutting the weeds in the area, searching for someone who they suspect might be nearby, said the SENAN officer Edson Castillo.

The new Naval Air Service Base on Chapera Island is very nearby, which was built to control the presence of speedboats carrying drugs across the Pacific route, used by drug traffickers to move the illegal goods from Colombia. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: They busted more than a ton of cocaine at this site. The drugs were found stashed in a specially built location, hidden underground, with a large corrugated pipe buried underground. The SENAN has not yet given a specific weight for this bust because they have not yet been able to haul it all out of there, count it, and weigh it. This stash has probably been in operation for years.

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288 Kilos of Cocaine Found In Boat Workshop in Rio Abajo

Drug TraffickingTwo hundred eighty-eight (288) packages of cocaine were seized by the units of the Directorate of Police Information, in conjunction with officials from the Anti Drug Prosecutor, found hidden in the false bottom of a boat, and in a storage area of a company used as a front, named "Eurocasas". The drug operation was conducted yesterday, Thursday, in the morning, in the said premises located on Calle Octava in Rio Abajo.

When the police arrived there was no one in the premises that was being used as a workshop. There were only two German shepherd dogs, guarding the premises. During the inspection they found two boats, and upon further review they found the drugs hidden in a false bottom that had been built into both boats. Other packages of drugs were found within several small boxes, bags and suitcases in a storage area on the premises.

The Chief of Police of the Pueblo Nuevo zone, Deputy Commissioner Jose Duarte, said they received a telephone call on Wednesday night reporting the suspicious movement of cars on the site. This irregular situation led to an intelligence operation conducted by specialized anti drug units, and when the raid was ordered they found 54 kilos in a boat and more drugs in the storage area. The drugs were field tested, and was positive for cocaine.

It is presumed the place was used as a workshop, in order to modify the boats, which were then used to transport drug shipments to other countries. The drugs were transferred to the National Police headquarters located in the district Ancon, where it is heavily guarded. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: A kilo of cocaine in Panama City costs about $4,500 so 288 kilos has a wholesale value in Panama of $1.29 million. A kilo of cocaine in Atlanta has a wholesale (traffickers) value of about $26,000 so 288 kilos in the US is worth $7.48 million. Then once it's cut and sold on the street at a retail level, the value jumps to $100,000 per kilo so 288 kilos eventually brings in $28.8 million dollars in cash. So "what's the value of this bust?" Depends...

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330 New SENAFRONT Recruits Undergoing Basic Training

Drug TraffickingA total of 330 young people began their dream of serving their country, their chance to be good men and women, through the basic police training course specialized in protecting the borders of Panama, 40% of them come from different indigenous ethnic groups in the country. Among the aspirants, 100 are from ethnic Ngäbe-Buglé, who aspire for a better future for their family, which is why they ventured into this noble, worthy, and well paid profession. The Director of the SENAFRONT police Commissioner Frank Alexis Abrego said in the SENAFRONT, the Panamanian youth will be fully prepared in academic, physical and mental training, as well as in strengthening civic and moral values, aimed at guaranteeing effective professional service to the community. He said he was pleased that so many young Panamanians have heeded the call to join the ranks of the organization, where after a rigorous screening process they have selected the best. (Dia a Dia)

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Blown Away By Assassins - Busy Street, Broad Daylight, Lots of Witnesses

Drug TraffickingThe citizen José Martínez Díaz, 37, was gunned down yesterday afternoon, Friday, on Via Domingo Diaz, opposite the entrance to the "On the Run" in Villa Lucre, on the side of the road headed towards the city center. According to preliminary reports, it happened at around 5:00 pm. Initial reports indicated there was a body of a man in the middle of the roadway who had been run over by a car. A few minutes later it was verified that the victim had been shot. Apparently the victim was traveling in a Toyota with licence plate number 730230 and he was being followed by two subjects on two motorcycles, who opened fire on the vehicle as evidenced by the holes from the projectiles. Allegedly the victim left the car running away from death, but he was topped by his murderers. He was shot more than seven times. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: Broad daylight, busy street, lots of witnesses - and these assassins just don't care, at all.

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Foreigners Busted At Tocumen With $60,000 In Cash

Drug TraffickingAgents of the Judicial Investigation Department (DIJ) arrested three Colombians with two suitcases that had $60,000 in cash hidden in a double bottom. The foreigners intended to travel to Brazil at the time of their capture at the Tocumen International Airport. (Critica)

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New Naval Air Station Will Be Built On Amador Causeway

Drug TraffickingTwo and a half months after officials from the Security Ministry denied the installation of a new naval air station on Isla Flamenco, on the Amador Causeway, yesterday the Minister Jose Raul Mulino confirmed its construction. He said the new base to be built on Flamenco is part of the four new naval bases that were not included in the original plan. The other three bases will be built in Chinina, in the district of Chepo, in Tonosí, and in the Ngäbe Buglé region.

In late July, this newspaper (La Estrella) reported that a new naval air base would be built on Flamenco Island, and in response Minister Mulino said it was only going to be a dry dock to raise and lower boats for repairs. Yesterday, reality changed. The new Naval Air Base at Flamenco will serve as the "Headquarters of the National Naval Air Service in the Pacific area," said Mullino.

The minister's remarks came during the presentation of the accountability report yesterday, which highlighted the decline in homicides in the country and the investments that have been made in security. A total of 18 naval bases (including the four new above) are being built at a cost of $134.7 million. "With this we wish to prevent, as indeed is being done, the flow of drugs from entering Panama," said Mullino. So far this year authorities have seized about 22 tons of drugs.

VIOLENT SOCIETY - Mulino, together with the heads of the various public safety entities, also stressed that through 30 September 2012 there have been 500 homicides in the country. The figure represents 70 cases less, compared with the same period of 2011. The districts of Panama and San Miguelito recorded the highest numbers of homicides, with a rate of 13.5 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. According to Mulino, homicides related to organized crime represent 24% of these cases, and 45% has been as a result of social conflict, which means that "we are a violent society."

During the presentation of the report it was revealed that today was the ceremony to lay the first stone of the construction of the radar center, and on Friday they will receive the new coast guard center. By the end of the year the first five radar sets will be installed in the country, of a total of 19 sets. (Estrella)

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New Anti Drug Radar Set Installation At Farallon

Drug TraffickingThe president, Ricardo Martinelli, said that with the installation of the radars that are part of the coastal security project, criminal activities related to drug trafficking will be reduced. He said the reduction is reflected the statistics on the number of crimes that have been committed in the country during his tenure. The president also thanked the Government of Italy for the donation of six boats to the Panamanian government, which will also help to combat drug trafficking.

He said the authorities have identified a new tactic being used by the drug traffickers, who are switching to smaller and faster boats, but with the help of radar sets being installed all along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, they will be easy to locate.

Meanwhile, the Security Minister, Jose Raul Mulino, who also participated in the activity, said that despite the criticism that arose at the time over the acquisition of these radars, Panamanians will see the results between 2013 and 2014.

Martinelli participated in the ceremony of laying the first shovelful of dirt in Farallon, where one of the 19 new radar sets will be installed, acquired by the State from the company Selex.

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Two Arrested With 25 Kilos in Pacora

Drug TraffickingTwo Panamanians were arrested on the afternoon of Thursday October 4 by counter narcotics officers of the Judicial Investigation Department of the National Police. 25 packages of cocaine were seized from the detainees at a checkpoint located in Pacora, through monitoring and surveillance operation. According to reports, the subjects came from Chepo and the drug were detected in a false bottom of their gray Kia Skoda Octavia car. (Mi Diario)

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Colombian Gunned Down In El Cangrejo

Drug TraffickingA Colombian man was shot to death at 7:00 pm last night on "F Street" in El Cangrejo, Panama City. He was shot seven times, and his body was found in a Hyundai Accent with license plate number 990656. Apparently the victim dropped off a girl at an apartment building in the area, but he was being followed by the assassins. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: "Calle F" in El Cangrejo commonly appears on most maps of Panama City as "Ave. 4aB Norte". This is the street that runs from Via Argentina, up the hill towards Einstein's Head, towards the right past the New York Bagel Bakery, past the cake store (on the left) and the Casa de la Carne supermarket which is now closed because of the fire, then it continues down for one more block until you are forced to turn to the right by one way streets. "Calle F" continues on down the hill towards the ULACEX university, but if you're driving you can't go down that way because it becomes a one-way street coming up the hill. This is a part of town most of the members of the English speaking community of expatriates in Panama City will know relatively well. However, the initial description of this murder indicates it's most likely a hit associated with drug trafficking or some other sort of illegal activity. These are the kinds of crimes that occur in Panama almost every day, and simultaneously it's worth noting they almost never splash over to affect the expat community, because few gringos are stupid enough to get involved in those types of activities.

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The Version Of The Ramón Ricardo Martinelli Corro Case in Mexico

Drug TraffickingVery little is known about what happened that November 20, 2009 when Ramón Ricardo Martinelli Corro was arrested in Mexico on charges of alleged money laundering, the product of drug trafficking.

The file in the Martinelli Corro case is a mystery. The Public Ministry of Panama says there are no details on the progress of the criminal proceedings against the cousin of the President. Nothing has been known of Martinelli Corro so far.

An exclusive report obtained by La Estrella revealed previously unknown details about the case against Ramón Martinelli Corro in Mexico.

Arrested in the second maximum security prison in the Aztec country, the president's cousin is awaiting the decision of a judge. From Puerto Grande, the Jalisco prison Martinelli Corro is being held, together with the Panamanian Jorge Álvarez Cummings, he has not left. Nor has he talked to the other inmates in the prison. He just just talks to his lawyer and the court officials in Mexico who have pursued the case against him. Sitting in his cell, completely isolated from the outside world, Martinelli Corro is waiting for the judge's decision. A decision could come at any moment and decide the guilt or innocence of the Panamanian president's cousin. (more)

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Canadian Sandra Mallon Sentenced To 80 Months in Prison For International Drug Trafficking

Drug Trafficking By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Remember the case of Sandra Mallon? She was arrested at the Tocumen International Airport with 1.6 kilos of cocaine hidden under her clothing. She tried to smuggle it through, got patted down, got caught. After she was arrested she convinced friends and family members in Quebec to raise money for her for her legal defense fund. She was claiming she was innocent, she had done nothing wrong, the Panamanian system was corrupt, etc. Then when I went down to the courthouse and saw her file - there she was, photos of her taken at the airport sitting behind the cocaine she had in her possession when she was busted. Her fundraising came to a sudden stop.

Update: Today I was up at the courthouse, and I stopped in to check on her case. She was convicted and sentenced to 120 months. That sentence was reduced to 80 months (six years, eight months) because she basically pleaded guilty and didn't try to mount a prolonged defense, claim she was innocent, or anything like that. These numbers are practically standard sentences handed out to those who are caught red handed trying to smuggle cocaine. So let's see - Sandra Mallon was busted in August 2009 so she's already done more than three years in prison. And, she will be there until about April 2016. End of story.

Related Articles:

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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25 Kilos Seized on Upper Coast of Colon Province

Drug TraffickingAbout 25 kilos of suspected cocaine were seized by authorities in the area known as La Guaira in the Costa Arriba of Colon. In this case two people have been arrested for investigation, because they were there at the time of seizure. Officials said through an operation they observed several strange packages in a vehicle, so they proceeded with the arrests and the seizure was made. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: 25 kilos has a wholesale value in Panama of $112,500 dollars. It's worth $650,000 wholesale in the US, and $2.5 million retail, cut and delivered on the street.

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Police Lieutenant Arrested In 406 Kilo Bust

Drug TraffickingThe National Police confirmed the seizure of 406 kilos of cocaine as part of "Operation Judas" in the district of Chepo. Seven people were arrested during this police operation, including four Colombians and three Panamanians. One of the Panamanians arrested is a Lieutenant in the National Police, with 26 years of service in the institution. The National Police is investigating the participation of this police officer through an internal process. Additionally, three vehicles were seized during the operation.

It was also reported that some other citizens who were transporting green peppers in a pickup truck were briefly detained, but they were later released when it was determined they were not implicated in the drug trafficking. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: 406 kilos of cocaine would have an approximate wholesale value of $1.8 million dollars in Panama, at $4,500 per kilo. This same load would have a wholesale value of about $10.5 million in the United States, once it gets there. Retail value on the street, cut, line per line, of about $40 million.

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Another 100 Kilos Busted At Guabala Checkpoint in Chiriqui

Drug TraffickingOne hundred kilos of cocaine were seized Friday morning September 21, at the Guabala checkpoint in the eastern province of Chiriqui. The seizure was carried out by agents of the Department of Police Information (DPI) of the National Police, through a routine check.

The Deputy Commissioner, Jorge Alexis Espinoza, of the Chiriqui police, said during the action one person was arrested, a resident of the area of Cabuya in Tocumen, Panama Province, who is 31 years old. The subject was driving a gray Suzuki microbus with registration number 419542, and the drugs were hidden in a false bottom. The seizure of the drugs and the field test was ordered by Ms Diaz Janella Montenegro, of the office of the Anti Drug Prosecutor in the province of Chiriqui. Both the drugs and the suspect were turned over to prosecutors, who continues to investigate this traffic. (Estrella)

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234 Kilos of Cocaine Busted At Guabala Checkpoint

Drug TraffickingGuabala, Chiriquí. - A total of 234 kilos of cocaine were detected and seized by narcotics agents of the National Police at the Guabala checkpoint, on Wednesday, September 20. In the operation police officers arrested a Panamanian from Chiriqui who was driving a truck that had been modified, with a false double bottom. Luis Navarro, the Deputy Commissioner of the Police Zone of Chiriqui, said thanks to the insight of the police officers on the scene, they were able to detect the cargo, which was hidden in a false bottom of the vehicle. The drugs and the suspect were turned over to prosecutors. (Prensa)

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140 Kilos of Cocaine Busted in Coclé

Drug TraffickingA 38 year old man was detained by the Narcotics Department of the National Police, after the execution of "Operation Leña" (firewood) in conjunction with the Anti Drug Prosecutor's Office. This operation was carried out on Wednesday in the community of Rio Hato, in Anton, Cocle, during which 140 kilos of drugs were seized. The goods were in the back of a pick-up truck that was moving towards the interior from the capital of Panama City. Today, the suspect will be presented before the investigating judge to verify the apprehension, to file the charges against him, and to request preventative measures, which due to the severity of the case could be provisional detention. (Mi Diario)

Editor's Comment: Cool. They obviously had this guy under surveillance from the time he left Panama City. But they decided to bust him in the province of Coclé, and as a result he will be tried under the new "accusatory" system which is much, much faster. In Panama City, those detained on drug charges can sit in prison for two years or more, awaiting trial. It looks like under the new system this dude will be done in a few weeks. Light speed, by comparison. And, getting caught red handed with 140 kilos of cocaine in the back of your pickup truck helps to speed things along somewhat.

What's It Worth: I was talking to a guy in La Joya recently who got busted for international drug trafficking. He says a kilo of cocaine in Panama City costs about $4,500 so these 140 kilos have a value - here - of $630,000. But in the United States they can be sold for $26,000 each for a US wholesale value of $3.64 million.

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SENAN Busts 65 Kilos On An Island In Province of Colon

Drug TraffickingSome 65 kilos of suspected cocaine were seized by units of the National Naval Air Service (SENAN) on the coast of the province of Colon. According to the commissioner Belsio Gonzalez, the drugs were found on Isla Largo Remo in Colon, in a 20 foot long boat. According to Gonzalez the subjects who were aboard the boat jumped into the water to escape when they saw the SENAN officers, and they could not catch the two men, however they did manage to seize the drugs. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: Have you ever noticed that very frequently when there's a large drug bust like this in Panama, the guys who were in the boat magically seem to get away, every time? On the surface it would seem these guys are probably traveling with a wad of cash, which they hand over in order to be allowed to "escape."

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SENAFRONT Arrested Four "Narco Guerrillas" Near Colombian Border

Drug TraffickingPanama's State Border Service (SENAFRONT) captured four alleged Colombian "narco-guerrillas" in an indigenous region near the border with Colombia, said a source today from that agency. SENAFRONT Commissioner, Frank Abrego, said the four so-called "narco-guerrillas" whose names were not revealed, were arrested at the site of Chucurtí, in the indigenous region of Kuna Yala. The head of the Panamanian border police said they seized two packages of dried grass appearing to be marijuana from the four who were captured, as well as military equipment such as clothing, backpacks and ponchos. Abrego said the SENAFRONT agents also spotted a coca plantation measuring about one hectare in size, located about 500 meters from the border on the Colombian side, so they reported the situation to the Colombian authorities. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: Panama is now doing a much better job of getting out there in the bush and chasing down the drug traffickers who frequently use the jungle area in the Darien and the Guna Yala to move drugs. During the years of the administration of Martin Torrijos, they basically left them alone and were afraid to go after them. Martinelli and the SENAFRONT are now much more active in getting out there to hunt them down.

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Alameda-based Coast Guard crew seizes two tons of smuggled cocaine off Panama coast

Drug TraffickingThe U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau based in Alameda returned to the San Diego Naval Base today from a months-long counter-drug patrol in international waters of the coast of Central America with two tons of cocaine, a U.S. Coast Guard petty officer said.

The 378-foot cutter will return to Alameda in a few weeks, but not before the Morgenthau crew finishes offloading two tons of cocaine at the San Diego base today and participates in Fleet Week activities in the San Diego area this weekend, 1st Class Petty Officer Henry Dunphy said.

The 4,100 pounds of cocaine was seized about 125 miles south of Panama on July 24, Dunphy said.

Crewmembers detained four suspected smugglers after a patrol aircraft spotted a go-fast boat crew jettisoning packages into the water. (mercurynews.com)

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