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Thursday, December 14 2017 @ 02:56 AM EST

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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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Former Army captain admits part in heroin smuggling

Drug TraffickingWritten by Sean O’Sullivan - The News Journal - WILMINGTON — A West Point graduate and former U.S. Army Capt. Saleem A. Sharif admitted in federal court Thursday to being involved in a heroin smuggling operation that funneled drugs from Afghanistan to the streets of Wilmington.

Sharif pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import more than 100 grams of heroin into the U.S. and possession with the intent to distribute. He now faces a minimum four years in prison and up 80 years behind bars, though a guideline sentence would be between 11 and 16 years of incarceration.

Sharif, 35, of Johns Island, S.C., also agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty though District Judge Richard A. Andrews could impose a fine of up to $10 million at sentencing in January.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert F. Kravetz charged that Sharif, who was working as a military contractor in Kabul specializing in communications, arranged to smuggle more than 2.5 kilograms of heroin from Afghanistan to the United States through a co-defendant who lived near Fort Hood in Texas.

According to federal officials, the drugs were concealed in shrink-wrapped DVD cases for television shows like True Blood and Spartacus.

From the Fort Hood area, the drugs made their way to Delaware through an organization operated by Rolondo Edmund, who also was using couriers to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. from Panama, according to prosecutors. Edmund admitted to drug trafficking charges in June and is awaiting sentencing.

Sharif was arrested in April outside the Wilmington Amtrak station as part of a federal sting operation where he was caught with 115 grams of heroin.

U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III said Sharif, “violated the trust of his country and his uniform.”

Sharif’s attorney, Luis Ortiz, declined comment outside court.

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Two Brothers Arrested in the Darien With 316 Kilos of FARC Cocaine

Drug TraffickingTwo Panamanian brothers were arrested with 316 packets of cocaine on Isla Cedro, in the Darien. "It is possible that both detainees are related to a cartel of the FARC," said Frank Abrego, Director of the State Border Service. The 316 packages of cocaine were within 16 sacks and were abandoned by the brothers, after the wooden "cayuco" (dugout canoe) in which they were traveling ran aground on the island, and they tried to escape.

In another action, residents reported that between the communities of Pinogana and Yavisa police officers found an additional 21 packages of cocaine that was part of the 115 packages that had been found the week before. (Mi Diario)

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Police Officer Arrested For Drug Trafficking

Drug TraffickingA Corporal in the National Police in Chiriqui was arrested Tuesday afternoon for allegedly being linked to the seizure of 31 kilos of cocaine that were hidden in a suitcase, two boxes and a plastic bag aboard two vehicles from Panama City. The seizure was made at 5:30 pm in the district of San Félix when the drivers of the vehicles attempted to circumvent the checkpoint located in the sector of Guabala. The cars were being driven by a Costa Rican man and a Panamanian from the province of Veraguas. The men fled leaving abandoned vehicles in the sector of Galique. Then began a chase that ended at 9:30 pm with the arrest of the two men. After they were arrested the police officer was acting suspiciously. Apparently, the police officer was driving a third car that passed through the control checkpoint, with the intention of informing the other two on the level of security in the area. Luis Navarro, Acting Chief of Police Zone of Chiriqui, explained when they conducted a visual inspection of the car, they found the illegal substance. It tested positive as cocaine in a field test. (Siglo)

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Two Busted With Ten Packages Of "Crispy"

Drug TraffickingA Panamanian couple was arrested by officers from the Directorate of Police Information (DPI) and the National Police for allegedly trafficking ten packets of the illicit substance known as "Crispy." The suspects are Ubaldina Moreno, 36, and Jorge Reynaldo Renteria, 26. According to the report of the National Police, the seizure occurred after a follow-up operation was conducted in the commercial center of Villa Lucre, in the village José Domingo Espinar, in the district of San Miguelito.

The couple was traveling in a taxi with license plate number RI-9102 when they were arrested. They were immediately asked what was inside the car, and both denied that there was any illicit substance. After waiting for several hours, investigators from the Office of the Anti Drug Prosecutor searched the car, and found the illegal substance: ten packets hidden in a black bag.

The detainees live in the neighborhoods of Cerro Cocobolo and Samaria, in the areas of Arnulfo Arias Madrid and Belisario Porras respectively.

The Deputy Police Commissioner Flores, who is the Chief of Police in the area, said they are conducting operations to prevent crimes from being committed in the area, or to at least decrease the amount of crime. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: "Crispy" is a relatively new drug, made from a mixture of marijuana buds and cocaine, which is smoked. It's popular in the local market and common on the streets.

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Local "Justice of the Peace" Busted With Drugs In The House

Drug TraffickingDuring the last hours the National Police in La Chorrera seized drugs, a gun, cash, and arrested one man and a woman. The woman who was arrested is the local Justice of the Peace (Corregidora) of Playa Leona in La Chorrera, Yohana Gordón, who allegedly had six packages of drugs in her house, four with marijuana and two with cocaine, according to the National Police. That operation took place in the evening hours of Monday at a house in El Marañonal, where the official resides. Previously, the woman, who is a lawyer by profession, had worked in the Regional office of the MIDES in La Chorrera, a police source said. Meanwhile, in another operation, the police seized money, a gun and drugs from a 40 year old suspect. That action also took place in La Chorrera. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: Great. The local judge is a drug dealer. Now, do you think anyone will go back to review or audit her recent decisions? This is the person who authorizes and recognizes Rights of Possession documents for example. Are there any documents with her signature on them in the ANATI? Is anyone going to check? This is just one low level example of how drugs and drug money is and will be penetrating the Panamanian government.

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SENAN Raided Two Houses On Saboga Island, Four Arrested

Drug TraffickingNational Naval Air Service Units and authorities from Saboga island in the archipelago of Las Perlas, arrested nine people, including two children, during a raid on two residences. The incident occurred after SENAN authorities intervened in a fight among members of that community, because tempers were running high, and they feared for the effect on third parties, according to the National Naval Air Service. One of those involved fled and entered a residence and therefore, the authorities ordered the raid on the house. In the house, officers found 102 straws filled with a suspected illicit substance, two bags of suspected cocaine and a package of marijuana. In the other residence in the sector four people were arrested, two of them minors, who had a pellet gun. (TVN)
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Foreigner Busted in Chiriqui With A Quarter Of A Million Dollars in Cash and Checks

Drug TraffickingThe Customs Authority seized yesterday more than $100,000 in cash and another $140,000 in checks written out to third parties from a Costa Rican citizen, which were not declared. It was learned the foreigner was about to enter the national territory aboard a tour bus, when he was caught by the authorities. Abdiel Lezcano, the Customs Administrator in Chiriquí, said the foreigner had only declared $1,000 in cash upon entering the country, and later during a search at the control point in San Isidro in Bugaba, the rest of the money and checks were found. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: In Panama, the drugs go North, and the money comes South.

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Police Arrest Four, Seize 117 Kilos of Cocaine in Gorgona

Drug TraffickingNational Police officers arrested four people and confiscated 117 kilos of cocaine in the town of Gorgona in the district of Chame on Friday, 7 September 2012. The seizure comes as the result of a surveillance and monitoring operation, and an investigation of the house where the illegal substance was found. During the operation a police chase occurred when the suspects tried to flee, but they lost control of the car, which fell into a ditch, and thus they were arrested. (Telemetro)

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SENAFRONT Seized 115 Packages of Cocaine In The Darien

Drug TraffickingPanama's State Border Service (SENAFRONT) seized 115 packages of cocaine found in the communities of Pinogana and Yaviza in the province of the Darien on Wednesday morning. The SENAFRONT said they would be holding a press conference to provide more details about this seizure. (Mi Diario)
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Police Raid Houses in Paraíso For Suspected Drugs

Drug TraffickingOperating on Calle H in Paraíso, the National Police took the area because there have been many complaints that there were drugs in several houses. The entity informs the community they will continue operating to seize weapons, drugs and to arrest those who are being sought by the justice system, so they asked the public to continue to report crimes. (Dia a Dia)

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US Southern Command Explains Anti Drug Trafficking Strategy

Drug TraffickingThe penetration by drug traffickers, which has been a headache for the police and security agencies around the world, has also happened in Panama, and in Colombia the border police and national police are being instructed by the Southern Command, who train in the Darien to fight against narco-terrorism. These revelations of what the underworld of drug trafficking has caused at all levels, and what is known about what is happening in Panama, was explained by the Southern Command in a journalistic tour of their headquarters in Miami and Key West, Florida, where they have logistics centers.

Panama is considered to be the most important country in the region in terms of strategy, because it is considered to be a "funnel" for drug traffickers. The effectiveness of the interceptions and seizures of tons of drugs has led the joint forces to consider Panama to be the second most important point in drugs that are being trafficked from South America through Mexico to the United States. These revelations are part of the cooperation being made between the United States and Panama, because the drugs that come mostly from Colombia have invaded the northern nation, with some 85% of drugs going into that final destination.

In 2011, the U.S. budget to counter the effects of the drug trade was $25 billion dollars. About 90% of the drugs passing through Central America at this time have Honduras as their first destination. There is an assistance to the maritime forces from Central American countries, and the Southern Command has focused on areas of mutual interest. On the situation in Honduras, they have reached out and there are binational actions between Panama and Honduras, said the Security Minister, Jose Raul Mulino.

The Panamanian authorities have had to consolidate in binational actions, because the Northern coast of the province of Veraguas and the coast of Bocas del Toro have been used as "stashes" where drug traffickers hide the packages of drugs that are being moved to Honduras. Mulino announced Panama will open new Naval Air Stations in the area, further hindering the activities of drug traffickers. Recently one ton of cocaine was seized off the coast of Veraguas, in the international operation called "Martillo."

Cities penetrated - The passage of drugs through Central America means 40% of all the cocaine produced and 50% of methamphetamine reaches North America. Drug use has been reduced by over a third in recent years. In the United States 1,200 cities are being penetrated by the Mexican cartels.

Scott Latimer, a Lieutenant Colonel of Public Security Assistance of the United States, said there is an effort on the part of his country to provide and cooperate with the government of Panama in public safety, through the State Department and the U.S. Southern Command.

Matt Spencer, counternarcotics planning analyst, said there is help in training, infrastructure construction, devices, boats, and equipment for the forces of the State Border Service and the Naval Air Service of Panama. The Defense Department has spent between $5 and $6 million dollars in Panama for training and infrastructure. Right now they are working in Puerto Piña in the pier in La Palma in the Darién, on Isla Coco, and on the new SENAFRONT operations center in Gamboa, where there is new infrastructure.

The Southern Command spokesmen said between 2011 and 2012 the United States has contributed $2 million dollars in security assistance to help fight drug trafficking in Panama. A third facet is education and training, which amounts to $750,000 dollars. One program that was developed was police training between Colombia and Panama, in the Darien, with a specialized jungle unit. All of the money spent on these kinds of bilateral contributions are checked in a coordinated manner by the State Department. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: Cool. Finally. For the longest time, the government of Panama refused to acknowledge that the government of the United States was funding the construction of the new Anti Drug outposts being built all along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. In Panama there's a knee-jerk reaction against any possibility that the US military might return to open a base someday. There's no problem with TDY troops - Panamanians generally like the US military in general terms. However the subject of bases is politically sensitive. The US spends $25 billion dollars per year to fight drug trafficking? Really? Ah, OK. Want to know where every dime goes? Then read this report. Most budgets are increasing from 2012 to 2013. When I was in the military, we used to call the war on drugs the "war of last resort." In other words, when we didn't have an "real" bad guys to shoot at, there were always the drug traffickers as a fall-back position. So as the war on terrorism is being drawn down in Iraq and Afghanistan, the war on drugs will be ramped back up. Not the first time...

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Panamanian Busted In Costa Rica With Drugs And Weapons

Drug TraffickingThe Drug Control Police (PCD) of Costa Rica, in coordination with officers of the security forces, arrested a Panamanian last Wednesday with drugs and weapons, said a press release from the Ministry of Public Security of Costa Rica. According to the report, the arrest occurred at the checkpoint in Yarda, on the Southern Pan American Highway, in Osa, when the 31 year old Panamanian with the last names of Bartley Varsallo, together with a 24 year old Costa Rican with the last names of Valverde Mena, were traveling in a Nissan Sentra with license plate number 624613. Authorities seized two firearms and a kilo of cocaine from the men, says the press release. (Mi Diario)
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50 Kilos of Cocaine Found On Panama - David Bus

Drug Trafficking After all 49 passengers on a bus from Panama City to David were detained by Customs authorities and the National Police after 50 packages of cocaine were discovered on the bus, only five people were detained as suspects. The rest of the passengers continued on their way at 1:00 am, the passengers were kept away from the press, and the road where the bus was parked was closed. The suspects are still being investigated by the authorities from the Anti Drug Office of Herrera and Los Santos. (Dia a Dia)
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Authorities Incinerate More Than 9,000 Kilos of Drugs

Drug TraffickingAbout 9,275 kilograms of different types of drugs were incinerated in the morning of Friday 24 August 2012 by units of the Judicial Investigation Department of the National Police, at the Cerro Patacón landfill. The incinerated drugs were seized between 23 June to 23 August 2012, and this is the third drug incineration performed so far this year, according to a press release from the National Police.

The first took place in March, destroying 6,814 kilograms of drugs, followed by another 4,746 kilos in June, totaling between the three three 20,836 kilos of drugs destroyed so far this year.

In this diligence participated the Department of Pharmacy and Drugs of the Ministry of Health, the Institute for Analysis of the University of Panama, and the Institute of Legal Medicine (drug lab) and the Office of Drug Control, as established by Law 23 of 1986.

The destroyed drugs are broken down as follows:

  • 8,835.64 kilograms of cocaine
  • 427.08 kilograms of marijuana
  • 12.30 kilograms of heroin
  • .005 kilograms of other precursor drugs (Mi Diario)
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    SENAFRONT Busts Cocaine and Marijuana in Guna Yala Region

    Drug TraffickingSENAFRONT officers seized a glass jar with half a kilo of what is presumed to be cocaine and 138 packages containing marijuana 138, and three manila paper wrappers with a pound each of the same dry grass in a home in the community of Mulatupo, Guna Yala region. The SENAFRONT said the raid was carried out together with the Secretary Ramiro Libre from the office of the Prosecutor of Narganá, and the Indians who were in possession of the seized products were turned over to the competent authorities.

    The Director General of SENAFRONT, Frank Abrego, said the seizure is the result of continuous work of their units to eradicate drug trafficking and the illegal sale of illicit substances. Abrego said they would not allow any indigenous community to be part of this criminal activity, so the SENAFRONT will provide security for the Panamanian population 24 hours a day.

    The announcement of the joint operation with the Secretary of Prosecutor of Narganá, Ramiro Libre, comes after the incident that occurred when some of the local Indian leaders refused to turn over boats that had been used for drug trafficking. At that time, members of General Guna Congress complained that the operations being performed by the SENAFRONT in the territory of the region were being done without consulting the indigenous authorities. (TVN)

    Editor's Comment: News flash - the Indians in the Guna Yala region are the ones who are running the drugs, supporting the drug traffickers, hiding them, helping them, and selling drugs to their own local communities. Their leaders are hiding behind this "autonomous" issue as a smoke screen to hide their illegal activities.

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    SENAN Busts 350 Kilos of Cocaine in Puerto Pilon

    Drug TraffickingThe National Air Service (SENAN) seized a total of 350 kilos of cocaine, discovered hidden in a false double-bottom of a boat in the area of Puerto Pilon, Colón province. (Telemetro)

    Editor's Comment: Wow, another big bust. There have been a slew of relatively large drug busts coming in rapid succession in Panama lately.

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    115 Kilos Busted in Chiriqui

    Drug TraffickingThe authorities stopped a vehicle with license plate number 392262 at the checkpoint in Guabala in the province of Chiriqui, which was detected to have a false bottom containing 115 kilos of drugs, determined to be cocaine through a field test. Police Commissioner Luis Navarro, the local police commander in Chiriqui, said two Panamanians were arrested. This seizure was made over the weekend. (Telemetro)

    Editor's Comment: Third large bust this weekend.

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    100 Kilos of Cocaine Found In Container Full Of Frozen Tuna

    Drug TraffickingAbout 100 kilos of cocaine were found in a frozen food container by National Police officers in the province of Colon. The drugs were distributed in four suitcases. The container reportedly came from Ecuador and was destined for Belgium. The container was full of frozen tuna. (Telemetro)

    Editor's Comment: Second large drug bust this weekend.

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    1,362 Kilos Busted - Costa Arriba, Colon

    Drug TraffickingMembers of the National Air Service seized 1,362 kilos of cocaine on the Costa Arriba, Colon province, through Operation San Lorenzo. This operation took place this weekend and the drugs were located in a speedboat. The kilos of cocaine were packed in 57 bundles. No one has been arrested for this offense. Authorities also retained three vessels that were in the area that may have been involved in drug trafficking. (Critica)

    Editor's Comment: The province of Colon is divided into the "Upper Coast" and the "Lower Coast." The upper coast is everything to the North and East of the city of Colon, including Portobelo, Puerto Lindo, etc. The "Lower Coast" is everything to the South and West of the city of Colon, including Miguel de la Borda, Gobea, Piña, etc. I understand the drug traffickers simply abandoned the boat carrying the drugs sometime during the night, and the authorities found it simply floating in the ocean. By the way, this bust was 3,000 pounds of cocaine. That's a lot of blow.

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    Foreigner Sentenced To 40 Months in Prison For Undeclared Cash at Tocumen

    Drug TraffickingJose Luis Guzman, a Mexican who tried to enter Panama with $300,000 in cash, was sentenced by the Fifth Criminal Court to 40 months in prison for money laundering, last June. Guzman entered Panama in 2009, from Mexico City, and was detected by the Customs Investigation Department carrying the undeclared money. The large amount of money was detected in a double bottom of a suitcase, where four packages were covered with transparent plastic. The Mexican was prosecuted by the Second Anti Drug Prosecutor, and he could not prove the origin of money, so he was investigated for having the money from drug trafficking. According to the foreigner, he came on vacation to Panama, and a day before his flight a friend gave him the suitcase with the money. (Critica)
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    National Air Service Seizes More Than A Ton of Cocaine

    Drug TraffickingMore than a ton of drugs were seized during "Operation Hammer" held this weekend in Panamanian waters, specifically 6 nautical miles from Tigre Island, in the Guna Yala region. Field testing confirmed the 1,175 packages covered with black and brown adhesive tape contained cocaine. The combined operation between the National Air Service and U.S. Coast Guard is a new seizure, in less than 15 days. (Critica)

    Editor's Comment: Hey, a ton here, a ton there - after awhile it adds up. In 2009 and 2010 Panama seized about 50 tons of cocaine per year. That dropped off a little in 2011, and I don't know what the totals are so far for 2012. I do know the government of Panama has seized the third most drugs - behind the United States and Colombia - and I also know the traffickers are having a harder time getting their goods to market. The drug war has always been the "war of last resort" at least since the 80's.

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