HomeNewsBriefWith US Support, Panama Bulks Up Anti-Drug Technology

With US Support, Panama Bulks Up Anti-Drug Technology


Panama is improving its police equipment with the purchase of 19 radars, meant to monitor the coastline for drug trafficking.

Data from the radars will be shared with the U.S., Mexico and Colombia, reports the Associated Press. The country bought the radars and six helicopters from Italy for $250 million.

The U.S. will reportedly train Panamanian officials once the radar system is installed. Panama receives relatively limited counternarcotics aid from the U.S. for training and equipment. According to Just the Facts, the country is slated to receive $11.3 million in police aid for the 2012 fiscal year. Since 2007, the U.S. has provided training for 832 Panamanian security personnel.

This is slightly more than the 2012 military and police aid that other Central American nations like Guatemala ($10.9 million), Honduras (about $8 million) and El Salvador ($5.5 million) will receive, according to data kept by Just the Facts.

As noted by the U.S. State Department, Panama's security forces have significant "institutional weaknesses." This is not limited to outdated technology. As signaled by the reported firing of about 2,600 police in the past two years, corruption remains a serious problem.

Panama has no military and relies on three security services to fight drug trafficking: the national police (known as PNP), the frontier police (SENAFRONT), and the maritime police (SENAN).

Besides the U.S., Panama's security forces have also received aid and training from neighboring Colombia in areas like jungle warfare and community policing.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.


Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


Related Content


The robbers of drug shipments known as "tumbadores" are the pirates of the Central American cocaine trail, but their stories…

PANAMA / 11 JUL 2016

Interpol has warned that drug traffickers could capitalize on the expansion of the Panama Canal, in a reminder of the…

FARC / 2 JUL 2013

Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli has succeeded in completely banishing Colombian guerrilla group the FARC from his country, he claimed,…

About InSight Crime


Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…


Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…


InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…


Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…


Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…