Panama seizes record number of drugs for second consecutive year

Panama's police present packages of cocaine and other types of drugs seized in a police operation on the Caribbean Coast, during a news conference in Panama City, Panama April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Lemos/File Photo

PANAMA CITY, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Panama seized a record for drugs in 2022, its Public Security ministry said on Saturday, as the country struggles with drugs being trafficked through its territory to the United States and Europe.

So far this year, the Central American country has seized 126.5 tons of drug, mostly cocaine, setting a record for the second consecutive year.

"Panama is a transit country for drugs, what we do is a containment operation," Minister of Public Security Juan Manuel Pino told reporters this week.

Out of the total, 23 tons were found in containers on the Atlantic coast with destination to the United States and Europe.

The drugs were seized in more than 471 operations against drug trafficking, which included the arrest of 619 people comprising 415 Panamanians and 204 from other countries.

Reporting by Milagro Vallecillos; Editing by Josie Kao

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