Panama: SENAN seizes 1.475 tons of cocaine
By Dialogo April 24, 2013
PANAMA CITY, Panama – National Aeronaval Service (SENAN) agents seized 1.475 tons of cocaine and arrested four Colombians, SENAN Director Belsio González said on April 23.
The seizure – the country’s largest of the year – occurred this past weekend when authorities spotted a suspicious vessel off the coast of the central province of Veraguas. Officers chased the boat for several minutes before boarding it. The cocaine was packed in 59 bundles.
The raid was part of Operation Martillo, a regional maritime counter-narcotics mission that brings together Western Hemisphere and European countries to cut the flow of illicit drugs through Central America.
Nearly 90% of the cocaine that reaches the United States comes through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board.
“There has definitely been a decrease in this kind of crime,” said González, adding Operation Martillo has led to an increased presence of security forces since it was launched in January 2012.
González is optimistic more narcotics will be seized in Panama in the coming months, as the country will be using a new radar system, surveillance aircraft, helicopters and boats.
[AFP (Panama), 23/04/2013; SENAN (Panama), 22/04/2013]