PANAMA CITY – Agents with the National Naval Air Service, or SENAN, and Panamanian police seized 1,100 kilograms of cocaine after pursuing a speedboat off Panama’s Pacific coast, authorities said Wednesday.
The vessel was detected Monday morning about 10 nautical miles from the island of Coiba, along the country’s Pacific coast, by SENAN agents, who pursued it until it ran aground at Punta Mariato in Veraguas province, an official spokesman told Efe.
The three crewmembers of the boat managed to flee but inside the vessel authorities found 55 bundles containing a total of 1,100 kg of cocaine.
In addition, authorities found two shotguns, ammunition, two satellite telephones, and a GPS system.
SENAN naval air operations director Nonato Lopez said that the boat was following a route in international waters but units from his department began pursuing it when it entered Panamanian territory.
Another boat was found hidden in a marshy area near Punta Mariato, and Lopez said that it, too, was apparently used to transport drugs.
So far this year, SENAN has seized 12,118 kg of drugs, mostly cocaine.
The department has also arrested 19 people and confiscated nine speedboats that were being used for drug trafficking along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, according to reports.
The Panamanian government maintains four naval air stations to monitor the country’s two coastlines and strengthen its ability to fight drug trafficking.
Another seven bases are under construction to augment that effort and Panama is taking delivery of new coast guard vessels and helicopters to add to its monitoring and interdiction capabilities.
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Panamanian Authorities Seize 1,100 Kg of Cocaine after Ocean Pursuit