“This is, without a doubt, the largest seizure of drug trafficking money made in the entire history of the country,” prosecutor Javier Caraballo told reporters Thursday.
Panamanian authorities have held onto a record take of drug cash — more than $10 million in cash — in a crackdown on groups connected to neighboring Colombia’s beset Gulf Clan. It took investigators over 12 hours to include the cash utilizing twelve machines, a few of which fizzled under the strain, the prosecutor’s office said. The cash was found in three different hiding places in a house in Nueva Providencia in the Caribbean territory of Colon. The clan controlled about a third of cocaine creation in Colombia, the world’s biggest exporter of the medication.
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“The money-counting machines are finding it hard to keep up … some got damaged (from the counting) and had to be replaced.”
The bust was part of a police operation that resulted in the arrest of 57 people this week with suspected links to the Gulf Clan, which has been weakened by the capture in Colombia of its leader and dozens of other members since last month.
The United States is the main consumer.
Those arrested in the Panama operation, including five police officers, are accused of receiving large quantities of drugs from Colombia and hiding it before sending it on to the United States via Central America.
The operation, in which agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration participated, also seized 10 firearms and 38 luxury vehicles belonging to the group.
“We are talking about a big blow to a criminal group where it hurts most, in money,” said Caraballo.
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