Panama Seizes 10.5 Tons of Cocaine

Panama Seizes 10.5 Tons of Cocaine

By Lorena Baires/Diálogo
January 11, 2022

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The Panamanian National Air and Naval Service (SENAN, in Spanish), with the support of the Panamanian Regional Center of Aeronaval Operations, seized 9,381 kilograms of cocaine in five operations, November 22–December 8, 2021.

On December 8, SENAN reported the seizure of 313 kg of cocaine off Saboga Island, in the Las Perlas archipelago. Two men were transporting the drug in the false bottom of a speedboat.

In the Pacific area port terminal, Panamá province, authorities seized 918 kg of cocaine in a container that came from Central America and was bound for Europe, SENAN reported on December 4.

The U.S. Office of Defense Cooperation donated a coastal surveillance vessel to the Panamanian government on December 1, 2021, to strengthen the fight against narcotrafficking and illegal fishing. (Photo: Presidency of Panama)

On November 25, SENAN reported the seizure of 1,979 kg of cocaine that were hidden in 43 bags, which three men were carrying in a speedboat south of Coiba Island, Veraguas province.

That same day, aeronaval personnel reported the seizure of 2,904 kg of cocaine during two operations off the coast of Chitré, Herrera province. Authorities seized the first shipment, 1,436 kg of cocaine, on a speedboat with two men on board. The second seizure, 1,468 kg of cocaine, took place on another speedboat, which also had two men on board.

On November 22, SENAN confirmed the seizure of 3,267 kg of cocaine in two containers, on a ship that stopped in Colón province, and was coming from Central America bound for Europe.

Continuous support

On December 1, 2021, as part of the ongoing support for Panamanian security forces, the U.S. Office of Defense Cooperation donated a surveillance vessel to strengthen the fight against transnational threats, which SENAN and the Panamanian Joint Maritime Force are leading.

“The equipment that we deliver today will allow the National Air and Naval Service to strengthen its search and rescue capacity, and to fight against drug trafficking and illegal fishing,” Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Panama Stewart Tuttle said during the donation ceremony. “The United States will continue to support Panamanian institutions, whether with equipment, training, or infrastructure, to maintain a prosperous and lasting democracy.”

The U.S. Embassy confirmed that the 85 Defiant vessel, built in Louisiana, is worth more than $5 million. It is 26 meters long, has a-10 crew member capacity, and can conduct operations at sea for 10 continuous days, with a range of 700 nautical miles, SENAN added.