Panama Announces Another Big Drug Seizure
PANAMA CITY – The Panamanian government announced Monday the end of an anti-drug operation that resulted in the seizure of a total of 7.9 tons of Colombian cocaine in recent days.
With an estimated street value of $1 billion, the drugs were destined for 13 different criminal organizations in the United States, national police chief Gustavo Perez told a press conference in Panama City.
“All these kilos have different labels and each one of them has a designation, which are the different organizations to which the drug was destined (to be shipped), which would have arrived at a single place, at Colon (on Panama’s Caribbean coast), for its redistribution,” Perez said while displaying the seized drug.
Panama’s Servicio Nacional Aeronaval, known as SENAN, last Friday seized 4.9 tons of cocaine in a hideout located at the mouth of the Belen River, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of the capital.
The seizure came 24 hours after SENAN had seized another three tons at the mouth of the Concepcion River, also northwest of the capital, after police pursued and exchanged gunfire with the drug traffickers.
Perez said that the anti-drug activities on the Atlantic coast will be intensified with the aim of breaking up the trafficking organizations operating in that sector.
“We’ve established certain control points to try and eradicate once and for all that route which, according to intelligence reports, has many stations and contact points,” he said.
With last week’s operations, so far this year authorities have seized almost 80 tons of illegal drugs in Panama, compared with 54.3 tons during all of 2009. EFE