Panama Seizes 2.7 Tons of Drugs in Maritime Interdictions
By Lorena Baires/Diálogo July 21, 2021
Agents of the Panamanian National Air and Naval Service (SENAN, in Spanish) and Panama’s Regional Center for Aeronaval Operations seized 2,794 kilograms of drugs in different interdictions carried out along the coasts and in waters of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The seizures took place from June 14 to July 1, 2021.
On July 1, Panamanian authorities seized 340 kg of cocaine. The drugs were on a speedboat that was traveling south of Isla del Rey in the Pearl Islands, off the Pacific Ocean.
On June 19, a SENAN team intercepted a similar vessel carrying 366 kg of cocaine. Agents captured the ship’s three crew members and the drugs north of Puerto Obaldía, off the Guna Yala region in the Pacific Ocean.
“Through the Regional Center for Aeronaval Operations, [authorities] coordinated a maritime traffic interdiction operation with the Colombian Navy […], where they seized an illicit cargo that was transferred to Panama by air,” Major Jorge Martínez of SENAN’s National Directorate of Aeronaval Operations said on Facebook.
On June 16, during another interdiction operation, agents seized 808 kg of cocaine when they located a suspicious vessel southeast of Punta Mala, in Los Santos province, in the Pacific. Three Colombian nationals were carrying the drugs in a speedboat.
“The crew, upon noticing our boat, proceeds to jettison the packages with evasive maneuvers. However, we managed to recover [the drug],” Deputy Commissioner Ricaute Castillo, head of SENAN’s IV Aeronaval Region, said in video on Facebook.
In another operation on June 14, SENAN and the Panamanian National Police seized 1,280 kg of drugs on San José Island, in the Pearl Islands. Thanks to intelligence and the coordination of both institutions, agents found the packages in a container hidden among the brush.
From January to July 2021, Panamanian law enforcement agencies have carried out 73 joint antinarcotics operations working with different security agencies. In these operations, authorities captured 118 alleged criminals and seized 37,327 kg of drugs, 1,428 rounds of ammunition of different calibers, 40 vessels, and four vehicles.