Panama Seizes 5.7 Tons of Cocaine in Naval Operations
By Lorena Baires/Diálogo September 03, 2021
The Panamanian National Air and Naval Service (SENAN, in Spanish), in coordination with the Panamanian Regional Center for Aeronaval Operations (CROAN, in Spanish), seized 5,707 kilograms of cocaine in five maritime operations, July 27-August 7, 2021.
SENAN reported the seizure of 200 kg of cocaine during an interdiction operation in the coastal area of San Vicente de Bique, Panama Oeste province, on August 7. Three Panamanian nationals were transporting the drug in packages, which they jettisoned when authorities cornered them, SENAN added.
On August 6, SENAN and CROAN reported the seizure of 1,917 kg of cocaine that three Colombians were transporting on a speedboat off the coast of Punta Burica, Chiriquí province.
Also on August 6, in the Port of Balboa, Panamá province, SENAN seized 1,345 kg of cocaine in a container coming from Guayaquil, Ecuador, which had made a stop in Panama and was bound for Antwerp, Belgium. The Office of the Attorney General reported that the drug was hidden in a container with wood.
SENAN and CROAN reported the seizure of 245 kg of cocaine in a speedboat that agents intercepted on July 30, southeast of the Azuero peninsula, in Los Santos province. The Office of the Attorney General reported that the crew had hidden the drugs in a false bottom in the vessel’s hull.
Finally, on July 27, SENAN reported that, together with CROAN, they had seized 2,000 kg of cocaine on a speedboat north of Boca de Daira, in Bocas del Toro province. Following a chase, authorities detained three Colombians, SENAN said.
“At CROAN, we are concentrating the command and control of operations,” Major Jorge Martínez, head of CROAN, said on RCP Radio Panama, on August 7. “We serve as a direct communication platform with neighboring countries, such as the United States, Colombia, and Costa Rica, which have an interest in combating together these narcotrafficking methods.”
On August 12, Deputy Commissioner Luis Rodríguez, commander of SENAN’s Naval Group, said on YouTube to the news portal NexPanamá that from January 1 to August 13, they had carried out 91 anti-narcotics operations; seized 45,600 drug packages, including cocaine and marijuana; arrested 160 people; and seized 53 boats.