PANAMA CITY – Panamanian authorities seized roughly four tons of cocaine at a hideout along the Caribbean coast, 24 hours after confiscating another three tons of that drug, an official spokesperson said Saturday.
This second seizure by the National Aeronaval Service, or Senan, occurred Friday near the mouth of the Belen River, almost 300 kilometers (185 miles) northwest of Panama City and near the site of the first seizure at the mouth of the Concepcion River, the spokesman for that institution, Vladimir Rodriguez, said.
He told Efe that “4,926 packets of cocaine were seized at the mouth of the Belen River (near the port city of) Colon, but there are no detainees.”
Rodriguez said this latest operation was the continuation of another carried out Thursday in the central province of Veraguas, some 300 kilometers northwest of Panama City, that led to the first drug seizure.
Senan and the National Police seized three tons of cocaine Thursday after a chase in which the occupants of a speedboat abandoned the vessel and remain at large, Rodriguez said.
These two operations have resulted in the biggest drug seizures this year in Panama and raised the total amount of narcotics confiscated in 2010 by Panamanian security forces to 79 tons.
“Senan alone has seized 19 tons of drugs with the last quarter of 2010 still to come, and has already exceeded the 17 tons confiscated last year,” Rodriguez said.
The drugs were taken to the Vasco Nuñez de Balboa aeronaval base.
This week’s anti-narcotics operations were launched thanks to an intelligence tip from the Colombian military, which alerted Panamanian authorities to the movements of a suspicious 50-foot launch with four outboard motors, a rifle and a satellite telephone.