Panamanian Authorities Incinerate Five Tons of Drugs

By Dialogo
January 20, 2012

On January 18, Panamanian authorities incinerated around five tons of drugs, mainly cocaine, seized in Panama in recent weeks, an AFP reporter confirmed.

In total, 4,471 kilos of cocaine, 422 kilos of marijuana, 17 kilos of heroin, and 6 kilos of assorted illegal chemical precursors seized between late 2011 and early 2012 were incinerated at Cerro Patacón, a dump located on the outskirts of the Panamanian capital.

“We’re going to eliminate this garbage immediately,” reporters were told by the director of the Panamanian police, Gustavo Pérez, for whom his country’s authorities are waging “a battle” against drug trafficking.

“Latin America is suffering a very great misfortune with respect to drugs. It’s the common denominator of all our problems. Panama is fighting” drug trafficking, Pérez added.

The authorities seized 40.5 tons of drugs in 2011, a lower figure than that of recent years, since drug traffickers are believed to have changed their route from South America to the United States in response to increased vigilance in Panamanian waters.

Of those 40.5 tons, 30 were cocaine, and the remainder was chiefly marijuana.

In 2010, Panama seized 53.8 tons of drugs, while in 2009, 56 tons were seized.

Of the 704 homicides that took place in the country in 2011, around 34 percent were linked to organized crime.

Estimates show that of all the drugs believed to enter the United States annually, 80 percent pass through Central America.