Four naval operations have resulted in the seizure of more than seven tons of cocaine at sea off the coasts of Panama, and authorities are alert to the use of new techniques by drug trafficking networks.
So far this year the National Naval Air Service (SENAN) has seized 7,864 kilos of cocaine.
This is the result of four operations conducted at various points along the coastline, during which a total of 13 people have been arrested.
The coasts of the provinces of Colon and Darien are still the most commonly used by drug traffickers.
The trend indicates the total amount of drugs seized by the SENAN during 2010 could exceed those reported last year which closed with more than 17 tons of drugs.
The Director of SENAN, Jacinto Tom, said that although additional equipment is still needed, the newly opened naval air bases are yielding positive results.
Usually Panamanian patrol boats are able to intercept the drug trafficking speedboats, whose occupants usually manage to escape by fleeing into the mangroves and estuaries, abandoning their shipments of cocaine behind.
But Panama is on alert over reports that drug traffickers could be using semi-submersible craft, a sort of submarine that might allow them to avoid detection.
The Air Service is expecting the purchase of new patrol boats and new technology to improve their capabilities to detect drug traffickers.
It is expected that by the end of the year the purchasing program will be complete. (TVN Noticias)
Friday, June 04 2010