As the gateway between Central and South America, Panama has been used by powerful criminal groups – from Colombian guerillas to Mexican cartels – as a refuge and staging area. The country is also home to two local gang networks: Calor Calor and Bagdad. Gang conflicts over street-level crimes are blamed for much of the violence in Panama City and across the canal in West Panama province. Trafficking groups are known to contract the gangs to carry out killings and drug robberies, and to secure cocaine shipments.
Contraband Chinese cigarettes are pouring into Latin America, infiltrating old smuggling routes and threatening longstanding criminal empires.
As Panama struggles to contain an ever-growing flow of cocaine, a recent operation has revealed the extent to which officials are involved in facilitating the drug trade.
Panama’s northern province of Colón, sitting at the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal, is seeing a truly staggering increase in drug seizures, raising questions about its role in the…
The dismantling of a Costa Rican drug gang that worked with agents in an elite investigative unit to steal cocaine shipments from rival traffickers is yet another sign of the…