Panama Seized 35 Tons of Drugs in 2012

By Dialogo
January 14, 2013

Panamanian authorities seized about 35 tons of drugs that were transported by drug traffickers from South America to the United States in 2012, Ministry of Security José Raúl Mulino informed on January 10.

During 2011, 39 tons of drugs were seized, according to official records. In the last 13 years, the government seized a total of 319 tons of illicit drugs. Out of that total, 54 were seized in 2009 and 2010, the highest amount per year so far.

According to Mulino, drug traffickers alternate the routes used to transport drugs, after considering the operations performed by the authorities.

“There have obviously been route changes (because of) the management and police presence at current stations and the naval patrol” of the Panamanian coasts, Mulino explained.

Therefore, drug traffickers “try to pass at the farthest point possible” from the Panamanian territorial waters, but they cannot always escape the police surveillance assisted by aircrafts that warn of suspicious vessels.

Mulino also highlighted that murder rates related to organized crime in Panama, were reduced.

The Central American country had a rate of 18 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants in 2012, representing a reduction of almost three percentage points in a year.

However, Mulino warned that, due to the decrease of the amount of drugs for sale on the streets, the gangs “will switch to different criminal actions.”