Panamanian authorities seized five tons of drugs aboard a “semi-submersible home-made device,” in an operation in which four Colombians were arrested, the country’s National Aeronaval Service (SENAN) reported Wednesday.
The seizure of the drug, the first in the country from these types of vehicles, occurred north of the Caribbean province of Bocas del Toro, more than 300 kilometers northwest of Panama City and approaching the border with Costa Rica, according to Panamanian authorities.
SENAN posted several videos about the operation. One shows a semi-submerged device in motion at sea. In another, the boat is shown, of grayish color, docked at a jetty.
“This is the first finding in Panama of a vessel of this capacity for drug transfer,” said the Panamanian Prosecutor.
Panama broke its drug seizure record in 2019, with almost 91 tons, mostly cocaine. That figure exceeds the previous 85-ton mark in 2017.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, most of the seizures in 2019 corresponded to cocaine (77.9 tons) and marijuana (12.9 tons).
Panama is a bridge of drug passage that drug traffickers try to transport from South America, mainly Colombia, to the United States, the world’s largest consumer.
Last Saturday Costa Rica also announced the largest drug seizure in its history after discovering more than five tons of cocaine concealed in a container that was to be shipped on a ship.