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Units of the National Aeronaval Service (Senan) of Panama seized a shipment of drugs in a container that arrived at Puerto de Cristobal, province of Colon, from the port jurisdiction of Cuba with final destination to Istanbul, Turkey. An estimated 1,517 packets of cocaine were seized in an intelligence operation, the Ministry of Security of Panama said in a statement.
According to local media reported on Saturday, in the shipping documents reference was made to the container were bags of coal, but the packages contained illicit substances and were distributed in more than 40 bags.
The Panamanian authorities specified that although the container was destined for Turkey, it would previously dock in Rotterdam, Holland.
The Drug Prosecutor of Colón and Guna Yala, Eduardo Rodríguez, assured that the cargo confiscated by the Panamanian authorities is valued in a figure that exceeds $ 90 million in the international market.
So far there are no people arrested and investigations continue in the port area in order to find those responsible. Nor is it ruled out that personnel or workers from the same Panamanian port are involved in the transfer of the substance or have contaminated the container.
It is not the first time that a ship from Cuba with illicit material is discovered in the area.
In 2013, the North Korean ship Chong Chon Gang, which traveled from Cuba to North Korea with 10,000 tons of sugar, had hidden six vehicles associated with surface-to-air missile systems and 25 containers loaded with the pieces of two MiG-21 fighters. . According to the Panamanian authorities there were also 15 turbines for aircraft, components of missile systems, ammunition and other military equipment. The North Korean government paid a fine of $ 700,000 for trying to transit the Canal with undeclared weapons.
In March 2015, Colombian authorities immobilized the Chinese ship Da Dan Xia, which was traveling to Cuba and illegally transporting “100 tons of gunpowder, 2.6 million caps, 99 projectile cores and about 3,000 reference caps for construction. of artillery guns. “
In 2016, Panama seized a shipment of 401 packets of cocaine from the island. The drug was inside a container, camouflaged between tanks with cane molasses and destined for Belgium, explained on that occasion the Panamanian Ministry of Public Security. The drug was seized as part of an operation called “Caña Brava” by agents of the Colón police zone, serving in the Police Intelligence Directorate. The official information does not specify the name or nationality of the vessel that transported the container. At that time the investigations showed that the drug was introduced in Panama.
The Cuban authorities distanced themselves from the fact, arguing that Cuba is pursuing international drug trafficking.
Source: El Nuevo Herald