Seized mercury tanks
The Special Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime is investigating Colombian criminal gangs operating on the border between Panama and Colombia, and controlling illegal mining in multiple towns in Darién.
Metropolitan Prosecutor, Fátima Sánchez Marciaga, confirmed that that during a recent operation in the area, agents of the National Border Service (Seafront) seized several mercury tanks introduced into the country illegally for the extraction of gold and, with polluting effects, that are great threat to the environment contaminating rivers, forests the fauna and flora.
Sánchez Marciaga said that, although illegal mining is mainly exploited by criminal gangs from Colombia, some Panamanians have already begun to practice it and confirmed that a local group that operated on the Maria River in Chilibre was recently dismantled.
Reports from the institution show a rebound in activity since 2015 and identify as responsible, among others, the Usuga Clan, which took control of the binational border after the disarmament of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
So Panama celebrates the apprehension of people trafficking plant based substances that have never hurt anyone and help many, but labeled as drugs, while somehow managing to miss the theft of gold being illegally mined from right under it's nose? They can find a submarine off the coast of the country, but can't see thieves operating a whole mining operation within it? We can hardly be surprised, considering the same law enforcement agency also cannot see trees being cut illegally, every day of the week, also in plain sight. The inappropriate application of attention and the force of law, is incomprehensible.