Panama Dismantles Group that Transported Drugs for FARC
By Dialogo September 08, 2011
The Panamanian authorities dismantled a criminal gang that was allegedly responsible for the “transport of illicit substances” to Central America for the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Public Prosecutor’s Office announced on September 7.
“Up to the present, we have 80 individuals in detention, against the majority of whom we already have investigation orders,” drug prosecutor Javier Caraballo said about the arrests, made on September 5.
The detentions primarily took place in the Caribbean province of Colon and in the city of La Chorrera, 30 km west of the capital, where the police conducted some thirty searches as part of investigations begun two years ago, Caraballo said at a press conference.
“What we can say on a preliminary basis is that this group was doing transport of illicit substances for groups like the FARC”, a leftist Colombian guerrilla organization.
According to the prosecutor, the detainees provided “logistical support,” “transporting the illicit substances belonging to these organizations from Colombia to Central America.”
He said that in these operations, 80 suspects were detained, 19 of them Colombians and the rest Panamanians, who were also allegedly linked to 18 tons of cocaine seized by the Panamanian authorities in the last two years.
The gang was led by the Colombian José Indalecio Marmolejo Parra, who has been living in Panama for years under the false identity of Samuel Parra García, Caraballo said. Marmolejo had escaped from Colombia to Costa Rica after been linked to drug trafficking and arms trafficking for a group led by the late drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, according to the Panamanian prosecutor.
“In this operation, at least 95 percent of the targets (suspects sought) were arrested,” the director of the Panamanian Police, Gustavo Pérez, affirmed.
In the operation, 162 kilos of cocaine, several cars, and cash were also seized, the officials said.