2012-06-29

Panamanian Authorities Seize Over Two Tons of Cocaine in Two Days

The drug seizures in Panama, Colombia and the United States add up to more than 60 percent of the total amount of drugs seized in the Western Hemisphere between 2010 and 2011. (Photo: AFP)

The drug seizures in Panama, Colombia and the United States add up to more than 60 percent of the total amount of drugs seized in the Western Hemisphere between 2010 and 2011. (Photo: AFP)

AFP

In three operations conducted between June 25 and 26, the Panamanian police seized 2 tons of cocaine, bringing the total amount of drugs seized so far this year to 11 tons, police authorities announced on June 27.

The largest seizure took place on the afternoon of June 26, when units of the National Aeronaval Service (Senan) found 1,785 kilos of cocaine hidden in a pit around 5 meters deep in the marshlands of the Garabito River, in the Atlantic province of Bocas del Toro, on the border with Costa Rica.

“We have made no arrests in this operation,” Senan director of operations Ramón Nonato López told journalists.

That seizure comes in addition to another of 175 kilos that the National Police found on the same day in a vehicle abandoned by criminals on the main road in a sector of Cristóbal, in the Atlantic province of Colón.

On June 25, the National Border Service seized another 142 kilos of cocaine on a boat in Jaqué, in the jungle area of Darién, on the border with Colombia.

“These drugs hidden in these places and in pits of this kind are headed for North America and Central America,” Security Minister José Raúl Mulino said, highlighting the fact that Panamanian security agencies have seized over 11 tons of drugs so far this year.

The authorities assume that these drugs “must belong to various organizations that operate in the Caribbean sector, in the area of Colombia,” according to Senan director Belsio González.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Panama ranks third in the region in drug seizures.

With 52 tons seized between 2010 and the beginning of 2011, Panama seized 8 percent of the total amount of drugs seized in the entire Western Hemisphere, just behind Colombia, which seized 211 tons (30 percent of the total), and the United States, with 163 tons (equivalent to 24 percent of the total).

According to estimates, 80 percent of the drugs that enter the United States pass through Central America before.

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