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Moderator comment: This is not good news. At least the number of gangs is decreasing.


Panama gangs move to central provinces and Chiriqui


Prosecutor Nahaniel Murgas

Posted 25/01/2019
Panama gangs move to central provinces and Chiriqui. Many Panama gangs have transferred their criminal activities to the central provinces and Chiriqui, resulting in higher crime rates in those regions says the Public Ministry anti-gang prosecutor Nahaniel Murgas. He said that in Panama around 150 gangs operate, dedicated to the crimes of murder, drug trafficking, robbery, extortion and kidnapping. Most of the bands operate in the cities of Panama and Colon.

The number of the criminal groups has dropped since 2015, when 204 were operating, he said.

In  2018 they carried out 16 anti-gang operations, charged 351 and 152 of them were convicted by the courts.



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1 hour ago, Keith Woolford said:

Anyone going to suggest building a wall ?


It appears to have worked in Israel.


"Israel ... had a real problem with illegal immigrants coming in from the southern border, about 16,000 in one year. In two years, they constructed 143-mile fence, about $2.9 million per mile, and it cut that illegal immigration rate from about 16,000 to I think 18. Cut it by 99 percent."






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2019 murders  reach 463 as gangs fight for control


Posted 02/01/2020

A dramatic spike of  70  murders in Panama in December ensured that there would be more killings in 2019 than the previous year.

Until  December 1, there were 16 fewer but then came a rampage in the month of goodwill that saw 70 killed. a figure not matched since Dec 2012 when there  were 64

The massacre of 15 inmates at the La Joyita Penitentiary, sparked  the increase of homicides  followed ny  revenge killings linked to the jail victims

 Until mid-2019, when former president Juan Carlos Varela was still in power, 200 murders occurred in six months, and after President Nito Cortizo took over there were another  263 bringing the number of murders in 2019, to 463 and ending the drop in crimes that had been taking place since 2009.

National Police director  Jorge Miranda said that the largest number of homicides in the country are linked to organized crime in its different manifestations such as: gangs, criminal quarrels, drug trafficking (seizures and drug loss) and account settling among criminals.

Asked about the number of homicides that occur in Colón, being said that its geographical location and logistics facilities make it attractive to drug trafficking organizations, generating constant violence in the dispute over territory and control of the activity.

He also indicated that considering the conflicts, the unplanned way f moving 28,000 people to a housing development consisting of 180 buildings of 30 apartments each divided into 10 sectors, without considering the rivalries between the different gangs, has been another factor generating violence.

“We assumed the direction of the Police without a transition and immediately began to see that there were many things that were no longer working well. The police had no vehicles (56% of the damaged vehicle fleet and no parts to repair,  and three years without patrol acquisition) ..  ahigh demotivation and frustration among the troops,“ he said.

Miranda added that there was very little or almost no coordination with the Public Prosecutor, which resulted in no anti-gang operation being carried out during the 6 months of management and only 3 were made. operations in the first 6 months of 2019, a situation that contrasts with previous years where up to 20 operations were carried out in one year.

“What we see on the streets is the result of a strategy if it existed, was wrong. Gangs strengthened and fought  for territorial control and account adjustments, which translates into an increase in violence perpetrated by mostly young people, 'said Miranda.”



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to 2019 murders reach 463 as gangs fight for control
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160 Panama gangs spreading to interior


Posted 18/01/2020

Attorney General Eduardo Ulloa and the head of Public Security, Rolando Mirones.led a coordination meeting   on Friday, January 17 to combat the 160 gangs that exist in Panama

Anti-gang Prosecutor, Nathaniel Murgas, who also participated in the meeting, said that since 2015, 77 criminal groups have been prosecuted in the country. Of these 1,800 people have been prosecuted or charged, and 600 have been convicted of being gang members.

He added that the provinces with the greatest problems of gang members are Panama and Colon, but little by little the phenomenon has expanded to the interior of the country.

Mirones said that more than 70% of homicides last year are related to gangs.

"We are clear that gang violence is what we have to attack first," he said.

In fact, investigations by the Public Ministry detail that the La Joyita Prison massacre on December 17, where 15  detainees died, was related to gang warfare.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Gangs in Panama: Getting Larger, Moving to the Provinces to the West, and Increasing Murder Rate
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Security concerns as January homicides reach 65


Posted 01/02/2020

Murders, in Panama, - mostly gang-related -  soared to 65 in the first month of 2020 up by 22  from the same month last year, which closed with 43.

The slaughter included a National Police officer gunned down outside of his home in Chepo, east of Panama City and a family of three, including a three-month-old baby killed in Arriajan.  apparent revenge killings  for  the December gang massacres in La Joyita prison

The capital city, with 28 killings between the districts of Panama, San Miguelito, and Chepo topped the deadly list followed by  Panama West with 12 murders; Colon with 9  Bocas del Toro 7; Chiriquí with 6; Veraguas 2 and Cocle 1.

Criminal lawyer, Carlos de Icaza find the figures are alarming and believe the security uncertainty of the current government is remarkable.

The government and especially the Minister of Security, Rolando Mirones do not have a north to solve crime and a security plan  needs implementing as soon as possible, because February is approaching, with sensitive dates, such as carnivals, where gang warfare could spread, due to lack of security.



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Gang attack on public highway leaves 3 dead, one injured


Posted 03/03/2020

Three men and a woman in a pickup on the Arraiján-La Chorrera highway, in the Puerto Caimito district, were caught in a hail of bullets from a black sedan on Saturday night, February 29.

The group had just left a bar where they had been talking for several hours.

The men were killed and the Venezuelan woman  who was hit by two bullets is stable in the Hospital Nicolás Solano in Chorrera

According to investigators, it is presumed that the victims belonged to the gang known as “Baghdad'” and the attackers to “The Moon”



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Gang killings outnumber coronavirus deaths


Posted 30/04/2020

With  Panama in Covid-19,  lockdown during the month of April the number of murders, largely linked to gang warfare eased but for  the first  quarter  of the year  the total  of homicides  surged to 182, which is 45 more than in the same period last year and more than the 178  people who have died from the coronavirus

Until Wednesday, the month of April registered 31  homicides In January there were 65 murders and 43 in each of the months of  February and March.

Executions, double and triple homicides mark the path of the surging death rate which has not been halted by Covid-19  quarantine as assassins travel to the homes of their victims at all hours.

The provinces with the highest number of cases are Panamá, Panamá Oeste and Colón.


Panamá Oeste, is becoming the new epicenter of gang-related killings   In  2019  it registered a total of 48 homicides. In the first three months, there are already 38 crimes centered between the Arraiján and La Chorrera.

 Criminologist Carlos  González said: “Criminals, due to their personality structure, way of thinking and feeling, are going to use Covid-19  in their favor to fulfill, carry out their objectives, to eliminate their adversaries, rivals, enemies or incompetents or to settle accounts that in the underworld it is almost always with life.

“This moment is seen as an opportunity that allows them to have their victims in confinement, therefore, easier to locate and to carry out their objective of physically eliminating them said González.

'Since the suspension of the quarantine is not going to imply a return to' normality 'as we knew it before COVID 19, the criminal linked to drug trafficking will take advantage to accelerate his purposes, so we can expect more homicides for what It is up to the corresponding authorities to develop a plan to counter this looming threat that is coming, "he said.



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Gang killings outnumber coronavirus deaths:   https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/gang-killings-outnumber-coronavirus-deaths

Be 100 % certain all your safeguards are always in place.....lock doors.  Silently, you might be surprised by an intruder and have very little time to respond.  Never forget Marion Clamp ( It was a miracle she survived that brutal home invasion so many years ago ) !   Unfortunately roaming wild animals are  now enjoying the open spaces, and are setting off our perimeter alarms......we are trying now to adjust the beams at a greater height. 

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Gang war leaves 18 dead in bloodiest week


Posted 14/05/2020

Panama Oeste has pushed  Colon aside as the epicenter of drug-related murders in the battle for control of maritime routes in the province has unleashed a wave of crimes between rival gangs fighting for control of access points, between Vacamonte, Arraiján, and the Chame district.

Four homicides in El Chumical, Arraiján, and at least three previously are believed related to the massacre in the La Joyita prison on December 17, 2019.

The principal target was a brother of Alberto Ríos, imprisoned for a drug case, who killed on the day of the prison massacre. Those killed in El Chumical were Giordano Case Meneses, Gabriel Batista, and Joel Gorden Camarena. The fourth victim has not been identified.

 JudicialAuthorities linked to the investigation explained that until last year, the groups in the conflict had an agreement to respect the operations that each one carried out for the transfer of drugs, but that the loss of a shipment started the fight for control of the region.

In the Drug Prosecutor's Office they indicate that Ríos is related to some fishing boats that operate in the port of Vacamonte, and allegedly used for drug trafficking.

Authorities are also investigating another triple homicide after the bodies were found on May 7 in Lebanon, a town on the road to Punta Chame. Those killed were: David Franco, Álvaro Hidalgo, and Juan Carlos Torres who had been missing for several days. Their bullet-ridden bodies were in an advanced state of decomposition. and later

Another triple homicide was committed on May 11 in Tres Quebradas, Los Santos province. Brothers Jesús and Jaime Chambers Barahona and  Alanis Mendoza. Were  killed by , four hooded men with "long weapons" and "pistols" who before shooting asked the victims “do you remember us?'

There are indications that the case is linked to the transfer of drugs. According to the first investigations, the event would have something to do with the drug trafficking network that led to the El Gallero investigation centered around a mayor’s office

Another killing possibly linked to drug trafficking was committed on  Monday on the Puente Centenario road, in Ancón. Elizalde Viruet was gunned down with an assault rifle  Viruet had an extensive drug trafficking record and was serving a long sentence when he was moved to house arrest because he had cancer.

The murderers rented a house near his residence to monitor him and choose the moment to murder him.

In Barraza, in El Chorrillo,  a man was known to police as a “drug lord” was one of , two people on Thursday bringing the week’s assassination to 18 making it the bloodiest week in recent years.

Between January and April of this year, 186 homicides were committed.



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Panama registers 33 killings in 14 days


Posted 15/05/2020

The tcountrywide   quarantine has not slowed gang executions with  33 homicides  in the first to two weeks of May mostly with firearms

The most violent sectors are: Panama, Colón, San Miguelito, Panamá Oeste, Chiriquí, Herrera and Los Santos.

Panama Oeste ranks first with the murder of 10 people, including the discovery of three bodies of fishermen in Chame and the execution of four men on a roadside  in El Chumical, Arraiján.

Panama followed with 8 murders; Colon 5 s San Miguelito 4; Los Santos 3; Chiriquí 2 and Herrera 1.

The authorities link  the executions to territorial wars  between   narco-trafficking rival gangs

Criminal lawyer Carlos Icaza, said  that currently there is no  working strategy  for the authorities to combat the events, as criminals already know where checkpoints are located, especially now during quarantine and they take  other routes



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O.K.  So we have very strict firearms laws and the police are consumed with checking to see if you are 10 minutes outside your time out?  Here’s another thought, get the police back to investigations and solving crime.  Seems to me it would be a better use of resources.  

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24 minutes ago, JohnF13 said:

O.K.  So we have very strict firearms laws and the police are consumed with checking to see if you are 10 minutes outside your time out?  Here’s another thought, get the police back to investigations and solving crime.  Seems to me it would be a better use of resources.  

Jails & Juvenile detention centers.  More police.  Have Martinelli finance that with the money he relieved the country of.  Freedom for the cash .  Panama City populous are sick of the gangs and are okey dokey with them killing each other off. Very sad state of affairs. Keep your doors locked. 

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One of Panama’s most-wanted caught in Costa del Este


Posted 29/08/2021

One of Panama’s most wanted criminals was captured at a  police checkpoint while traveling in an armored vehicle on the Corridor Sur on Saturday night.

José Cossio, who had been held in the Punta Coco prison, in Isla del Rey, home to the most hardened offenders. Until now nothing was known about his release.

 On Saturday night, at the exit of the Sur corridor in Costa del Este when police officers were verifying his documents.

A police statement, said that on September 16, 2020 (11 months ago) - the Judicial body granted him immediate freedom.

"Due to a new office, and at the request of the Public Ministry, we proceeded with the arrest and it will be a judge of guarantees who determines what corresponds to law," the PN statement said.

Judicial sources told La Prensa that Cossio was imprisoned in Punta Coco due to a sentence for drug trafficking; once completed, he was able to leave the prison. However, it seems that the time he was on the run was computed and that was what was appealed to a guarantee judge.

Cossio was arrested on April 30, 2015, in Costa Rica and deported to Panama.

His criminal record reveals that in 2005 he was linked to the theft of $2.5 million from the Bank of China in the Colon Free Zone. For this crime, he was sentenced to six years in prison, but he was released from prison a year early

In 2010 he was arrested in the United States and sentenced to 5 years months for the crime of intent to distribute cocaine and illicit association. He asked to serve his sentence in Panama and was sent to La Joya jail. From there he was transferred to the Nueva Esperanza prison, in the province of Colón, where he deprived a PN second lieutenant of his liberty and was again taken to La Joya.

 On September 30, 2014, he escaped from La Joya prison ($10,000 were offered to anyone who gave information that would lead to his capture) and took refuge in Costa Rica, where months later he was captured and deported.



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Gangland “most wanted” freed by mistake


Posted 01/09/2021

The release of José Cossio the leader of the notorious Calor Calor gang from Punta  Coco maximum security prison by a substitute judge, who did not follow the procedural rules.

This is concluded by a resolution issued by the Second Superior Court on May 10, 2021, which revoked the decision.

The resolution - to which La Prensa had access - specifies: “it is evident that the action of the liquidating judge Gerardo Ríos (in his capacity as a substitute) is not covered by the procedural norms, since the court responded to a request in contravention of the provisions of article 509 of the Penal Code ”.

The norm stipulates that the compliance judge is the competent authority to decide on the control of the execution of the sentence and that requests that imply a decision of this nature must be resolved during a hearing, in which the prosecutor must be present. of the case, the defense, and the compliance judge.

The court's resolution expresses its "concern" over the decision taken by Ríos, which allowed Cossio's freedom on September 14, 2020, until last Saturday, when he was detained at a police checkpoint in Costa del Este.

To order Cossio's release, Ríos considered that he had already served the 74-month prison sentence imposed on him for drug-related crimes.

In addition to the fact that Ríos was not competent to grant the detainee's freedom, it did not take into account that he had escaped from the La Joya Penitentiary Center on September 30, 2014, and that he was recaptured in Costa Rica and transferred to Panama on May 2, 2014. 2015, for which the sentence had been interrupted, the court noted.

"Thus, this court, administering justice, declares the nullity of the release of freedom

Sources linked to the process said that it was the Public Ministry that noticed the irregularities in the release of the detainee, which led to a review of the actions of the substitute judge Ríos.

Cossio was sentenced to 74 months in prison for the offense of aggravated possession of drugs and then a sanction of 38 additional months was applied to him for escaping the La Joya Penitentiary Center.

On Monday afternoon, under strong security measures, Cossio was escorted to the Albrook Airport to be transferred by plane of the National Aeronaval Service (Senan) to the Punta Coco prison.

Crime sheet
Cossio is considered the leader of the Calor Calor gang, the link to an assault in 2005 at the Bank of China branch in Colón,  in which the $2.5 million was stolen.

In 2007 an investigation was opened for his alleged connection to a homicide. Later, in 2010, he was convicted in the United States of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

In 2013, he was investigated link to the murder of the model Mily Jeans, whose body was found on Centenario road.


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Investigation of judge freed “most wanted” criminal


Posted 02/09/2021

The Judicial Branch has opened an internal investigation into the actions of the judge who ordered the release of the alleged gang leader José Cossio, despite the fact that he had not finished serving the 74-month prison sentence, imposed for drug-related crimes.

Cossio was finally captured in Costa del Este, last weekend, and returned to the maximum-security island prison in Punta Coco. The National Police referred to him as "one of the most wanted" throughout the country.

In the act to commemorate the 10 years of validity of the accusatory criminal system in the Second Judicial District (Coclé and Veraguas), the presiding magistrate of the Court, Luis Ramón Fabrega, said that an investigation was opened to find out why the deputy first liquidating judge Gerardo Ríos ordered Cossio's release on September 14, 2020, and how it was carried out.

Fabrega indicated that the Court is in a constant process of sanitation and verifying any type of action that conflicts with ethics and morals or that violates the law.

Cossio's release occurred even though he had not completed a 74-month prison sentence for drug-related crimes, so -after a review of the case- the Second Superior Court of Justice ordered to revoke the order of the Judge Ríos and ordered his capture, which took place on Saturday 28, at a police checkpoint in Costa del Este.

Judge Ríos violated the procedures, as only a compliance judge could release Cossio, as a convicted person. Any request for release had to be aired at a hearing, in the presence of the Public Ministry and the technical defense of the convicted person.



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Two gangland “heavies”  shot in Vista Hermosa


Posted 05/09/2021

Two gangland leaders were injured on  Saturday in a hail of bullets from hitmen in another moving car,  on  Vista Hermosa on the section between the Metro station and the shopping center that houses Super 99. 

In broad daylight, the white car in which the wounded were traveling was shot at least 20 times, causing hysteria among people who were shopping in the mall.

One of the injured was Luis Andrés González Moreno, alias "Andresito", 32 years old and residing in Panama Viejo.

The subject has been investigated -according to the authorities- in cases of homicide and maintains a rivalry with a criminal group from Villa del Rey.

After the murder of Ricauerte Villasanta, alias "Tercero" in the Mega Joya, Jail he is considered one of the leaders of the groups from Panama Viejo.

The other injured is Alexis Javier Hudson Varela, 27, who lives in Los Nogales. In 2015 he was investigated and detained for a murder case, but he was released. In 2020, he was arrested aboard a car that, when verified, was found to belong to a subject murdered in September 2019.



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