Panama Ocean Pursuit Seizes Over a Ton of Cocaine

By Dialogo
August 23, 2010

Panamanian police along with agents from the country’s National Naval Air Service (SENAN) seized 1,100 kilograms of cocaine after pursuing a speedboat off Panama’s Pacific coast, according to authorities on August 18.

The boat was detected on August 16 following a route in international waters, but SENAN units began its pursuit when it entered Panamanian territory, about 10 nautical miles from the island of Coiba, said naval air operations director Nonato Lopez, according to EFE.

The vessel ran aground at Punta Mariato in Veraguas province, according to an official spokesman, but its three crewmembers managed to flee.
Authorities found 55 bundles containing the cocaine in addition to two shotguns, ammunition, two satellite telephones and a GPS system, reported EFE.

The Panamanian government has four naval stations that monitor the country’s two coastlines and strengthen its ability to combat drug trafficking. The country has recently acquired new coast guard vessel and helicopters, and is adding seven more bases – currently under construction – to heighten their monitoring and interdiction efforts.

So far in 2010, SENAN has seized 12,118 kilograms of drugs, mainly cocaine, reported EFE.