Between September 30 and October 6, the Panamanian Air and Naval Service (SENAN, in Spanish) seized more than 3.7 tons of cocaine in four operations conducted in Panamanian waters.
On October 6, while patrolling north of Colón Island, Bocas del Toro province, SENAN agents seized 1,833 kilograms of cocaine in a speedboat manned by four men, SENAN said in a statement. More than 20 units of this institution, using air and naval means, together with air units of Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF South), took part in the operation to intercept the boat, Commissioner Edson Castillo, SENAN head of Operations, told Diálogo.
Another operation was carried out on October 1, in the Las Perlas archipelago, off the Pacific coast of Panama, SENAN reported in a press release. The operation, carried out with the support of JIATF South and the Colombian Navy, which alerted the authorities, Commissioner Castillo said, resulted in the seizure of 1,229 kg of cocaine and the capture of three Colombians who were transporting the drug in a speedboat.
“This was a very interesting incident. There, our naval units intercepted a vessel that was sailing southeast of Punta Coco, and there was resistance,” Commissioner Castillo said. During the crossfire, the officer said, a criminal was hurt and taken to a hospital in Panama City.
“Very rarely are such actions taken against SENAN; usually when [criminals] feel the presence of air and naval personnel […], they jettison packages into the water and try to run aground and flee,” he added.
On the same day, in the Chame area, a municipality in Panamá Oeste province, security forces seized 310 kg of cocaine, SENAN said in a press release.
Commissioner Castillo said that the operation began when SENAN agents detected a hideout used to stash narcotics. In addition to the drug seizure, agents captured a Panamanian citizen.
Finally, on September 30, in the Río Hato community, Coclé province, service members seized 376 kg of cocaine in an operation to intercept a suspicious vessel.
“We have redoubled our efforts to comply with the citizenry, and we have strengthened our maritime interdiction networks to intercept all those opportunities that criminals want to handle behind the scenes,” Commissioner Castillo said.
From January 1 to October 7, SENAN seized more than 36 tons of drugs, including marijuana and cocaine, in 68 operations, the institution said in a press release.