Operation Martillo: Panamanian, U.S. forces seize huge drug cargo
By Dialogo August 09, 2012
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Panama’s Aero-Naval service (SENAN) and the U.S. Coast Guard seized 1,175 kilograms (2,590 pounds) of cocaine along the country’s Caribbean coast as part of Operation Martillo on Aug. 4, authorities said.
Operation Martillo intends to disrupt organized crime groups by limiting their ability to use Central America as a transit zone.
SENAN Commissioner Ramón López said that after being spotted by authorities, three narco-traffickers aboard a 45-foot vessel threw several bales of cocaine overboard and headed toward Colombia.
The seizure was in Panamanian Caribbean waters, six nautical miles from the island of Tigre, a popular tourist spot.
So far this year, Panamanian authorities have seized 15.5 tons of narcotics, López added.
In the first four months of the initiative, Operation Martillo has resulted in the confiscation of more than 32 metric tons (70,547 pounds) of cocaine, and has slashed air trafficking of narcotics by 60% to 70%, according to officials.