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Crime Wave Beginning Late August 2019; Reflections About Efficacy of Security Resources

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Four murdered in separate Black  Friday incidents


Posted 17/08/2019

A wave of gang-related violence led to the murder of four people including a woman in the Panama metropolitan district on Friday, August 16.

Nerys Andrés Rivas Perea, 24, was gunned down with five shots by hitmen on a.street in  Santa Marta, San Miguel district in the early evening. Rachell Rangel Caicedo, 22, was shot in the back in the recycling sector in San Miguel ito  She was taken by taxi to Santo Tomás Hospital, where she died.

In Las Acacias. Ciro Luis Castro Rivas, 49, a renowned humorist, who participated in the TV Infragranti program was stabbed and killed  in a robbery by a man and woman;

Luis Alberto Falcón, aka”Z”. 22, was killed with a bullet hit in the head when arriving at a friend’s house in the Nuevo Tocumen neighborhood.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Four murdered in separate Black Friday incidents
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Eight dead on Panama bloody Friday


Posted 24/08/2019

Panama City’s bloody  Friday, August 23, registered 4 murders, 3 young people killed in a single vehicle accident, the suicide of a 28-year-old woman in Paque  Omar an attempted murder on the grounds of the University of Panama and a woman injured in an attack on  Via Argentina.

In the lunchtime rush hour Luis Pinto Mosquera and Iván Pérez Blandón, traveling in a taxi on Transismica were gunned down in a taxi following  a car chase by men carrying heavy caliber weapons according to witnesses. The two died at the scene. The hitmen fled in a Honda sedan.


Ariel Ramos, 26; Eliécer Barría, 21, and Javier Joel Guzamán  Santamaría 22 died after a spectacular crash. on  Domingo Díaz, near the San Antonio neighborhood, of San Miguelito

The young people were traveling from a soccer game and were going to leave one of their companions at a subway station. 

At about 5:00 in the afternoon, there was an attempted murder of a woman was in front of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Panama. and a woman was injured in an attempted robbery on  Via Argentina. After an exchange of gunfire, a man was arrested

Meanwhile, a 28-year-old girl was found dead in an area near the National Library, in Parque  Omar Park. She hung herself with a rope from a tree.

A 10-year-old girl who was shot in the head by a man looking for her brother in Santa Cruz, Curundú, died two hours after being admitted to Hospital del Niño hospital.

The brother followed the man and killed him, after a shoot out that sent the avenger to hospital with gunshot wounds

On the same day, an on-duty  police sergeant allegedly raped his niece and President Cortizo promised an iron fist for criminals



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Black Friday / Bloody Friday Homicides and Related Mayhem, August 2019
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Lottery seller innocent victim of gang shoot out


Posted 25/08/2019

A 45-year-old woman illegal-lottery ticket seller was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle between rival gang members in San Miguelito, on Sunday y August 25. She was hit by a stray bullet and rushed to hospital where she died. The gang members fled the scene



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10 weekend killings send “streets are ours"  message


Daylight killings on Panama streets raise concerns

Posted 27/08/2019

Common crime killed 10 people this weekend. It seems that the perpetrators have sent a message to authorities and citizens: the streets are ours. Meanwhile, in the National Police they change the name of the police units in charge of repressing crime. Each director who has had the entity has its very personal booklet to do things, believing that only with it citizen security will improve. Nothing is worse than believing you own a single solution, because security problems are entangled and it is not repression that alone will solve them. If this issue is not addressed in all its complexity, we will witness the failure, again and again, because only one of its multiple components is addressed. What do the other actors do, starting with parents and home, going through schools, government policies on these issues? This without counting on the sad role played by the Judiciary, whose sentences are an invitation to a Persian market in which custom rulings can be obtained. The security of the country is something that concerns all citizens and not just an institution. – LA PRENSA August 27



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New anti-crime strike force unveiled after 48-hour blood bath


Posted 27/08/2019

National Police Director Jorge Miranda, who took over the post on July 4  has created a special team labeled “Alpha Force” to combat Panama’s surging crime rate which saw 10 people killed on the weekend and daily assassinations, sometimes in broad daylight in front of public onlookers. To the  deaths are added robberies, thefts, stabbings street quarrels, and domestic violence

“It is the restructuring of our resources to face what has been seen in recent days. There are several things to adjust within the service and Alfa intends to integrate our resources, in order to target the sectors, areas, and people who are engaged in this type of activity, ” said Miranda.

One of the weekend victims was an eight-year-old girl first grader at Fe y Alegría School, who dreamed of being a teacher was caught in the middle of crossfire in a war between gangs in Curundú, where she lived with her family. Two bullets penetrated her head. In the same incident, a 24-year-old also died in a hail of bullets

The residents of Curundú, where at least 20,000 people live, , conducted a peaceful march on Monday afternoon to demand security. The protest involved the family members of the girl and those of other victims of violence in the area.

The "Alpha Force", according to Miranda, will have the support of other security forces and the community itself. “The consequence of what we are seeing now, is not that it went from a month to here. It is the result of some things that were not working and that we have the obligation to order, ”said Miranda

The new security authorities, commanded by minister of the branch, Rolando Mirones , dismantled the so-called Eagle Force, created by the government of Juan Carlos Varela , a security squad that, like Alpa, brought together personnel from organizations such as the National Borders System,  the National Aeronaval Service,and  the Institutional Protection System, among others.

"We do not have a magic wand to end the situation that is taking place as a result of drug seizures, quarrels of gang members ... We are not going to negotiate with any ringleader of any band. We are not going to negotiate with any boss, ”Miranda told reporters on Monday after the citizens complained about the violent events that shook the country the weekend.

Miranda said that on the weekend they arrested 272 suspects and removed  20 firearms from the streets.

He also showed an intelligent vehicle, called Panther, which seeks to establish an internal communications control network for the police.

Criminal lawyer Orlando Castillo, says " the issue of citizen insecurity has a drag of decades. “It requires a comprehensive approach, which includes the preventive aspect. Repressive approaches have been inefficient. A change of strategy is required, ”he added.



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Broad daylight shootings increase as slaughter tops 254


The targeted car

Posted 02/09/2019

As Panama’s homicide/femicide count continues past 254, assassinations and attempts in broad daylight and in front of witnesses are becoming more common.

On Monday, September 2 a woman and  a man were hit by a hail of bullets during a car chase on Transistmica  which began at the traffic light of San Judas in Colón

They were both transferred to hospital.

Early reports sat two men have been arrested in connection with the incident.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Black Friday / Bloody Friday Homicides and Related Mayhem, Beginning Late August 2019
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Fighting crime wave with flawed judges

Posted 03/09/2019

The Minister of Security has revealed the intention of the government of President Laurentino Cortizo to seek a modification to the Criminal Procedure Code to update the capacity of the State to face the crime wave that plagues the country. Although this legal instrument has significant shortcomings, the situation of justice in the country shows systemic failures.

Thus, Panama has interim and trial judges that are interim, appointed without adequate training or supervision for the positions they hold. Similarly, the judges ignore legal norms or disregard common sense and the criteria of reason. However, the fight against crime requires a larger budget for investigators, prosecutors, and courts, which, at the same time, with remediation of corruption in the justice system, can offer the country the certainty of the punishment of the culprits, and the effective defense of society. Not the contrary, LA PRENSA, Sep.3



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Crime Wave and Related Mayhem, Beginning Late August 2019
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Public Security Minister facing Assembly grilling on crime surge


Rolando Mirones

Posted 12/09/2019

Rolando Mirones , Minister of Public Security, will have to appear shortly before the plenary session of the  National Assembly to answer 15 questions related to the crime surge since he took office the migratory flow seizures and the Safe Neighborhoods program. 

Mirones was cited by the deputies of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) bench. The citation proposal was submitted by the PRD  Zulay Rodríguez. 

"Considering the functions foreseen in the law for the position you occupy and the crime rates that have increased exponentially during your first 30 days of management, could you indicate the following? What policies and actions of protection, security, and crime prevention have you established to date or will set in the future? ", is the first question.

Among other questions, the deputies want to know the administrative measures taken by the Government to reduce the delay in the process of arms renewal; if with the ban on weapons they have managed to lower crime rates with firearms in the country;  and the policies that they will implement in the face of the "migration crisis".


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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Public Security Minister Rolando Mirones facing Assembly grilling on crime surge
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Security Minster delays Assembly appearance as crime rate expands


Posted 15/09/2019

Panama’s embattled Public Security Minister  Rolando Mirones will not respond to a summons to attend the National Assembly on Monday, September 16  to answer questions from lawmakers amid growing concerns about the country’s crime wave. Since he took office

The deputy and first vice president of the Assembly, Zulay Rodríguez said on her Twitter account that Mirones will not be able to attend the call, due to previous commitments.

"We are coordinating with the protocol team to reschedule his attendance to the Plenary," Rodriguez said. She made the request to call  Mirones, on September 10.

 Since the beginning of the administration of Laurentino Cortizo and Mirones in the Security portfolio, the cases of robberies and homicides in different areas of the country have increased, according to citizen groups.

The government recently eliminated the “ Eagle Force ” created during the Juan Carlos Varela government and created the “ Alpha Force ”, who have carried out operations against gangs and organized crime organizations.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Crime Wave Beginning Late August 2019; Public Security Minister Facing Assembly Grilling
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Another  gangland killing on public highway


The crime scene

Posted 18/09/2019

Another suspected gangland killing on a public thoroughfare took place on  Wednesday, morning  September 18, on the Arraiján-La Arraiján highway near Costa Verde.

According to the first reports, the killers were chasing the vehicle were chasing the victim’s vehicle when they let loose with a hail of bullets before fleeing the scene.

It was the fourth similar traffic incident witnessed by other motorists, in a month including in the capital city and the Panama-Colon highway and in the streets of Colon.



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Public gangland executions  claim two more victims


One killed. three injured on Colon coastal bus

Posted 23/09/2019

Public assassinations linked to gang warfare continue to mount with hitmen acting with seeming impunity in front of multiple witnesses.

On Monday morning, September 23 one person was killed and three injured when a hitman dressed as a student boarded a bus on the Costa Arriba-Colón route.

The bus came from the community of Guayra, in the  Isla Grande community, and was boarded by the killer in Puerto Pilón.

He started shooting, impacting several people, including a man who died. A woman with a bullet in the stomach was among the injured.

 She was transferred to the emergency department of the Sabanitas polyclinic, where she remains in critical condition

The hitman escaped in a waiting car.

On Sunday afternoon, a soccer player took three bullets in the head from a hitman shortly after finishing playing in a  game, for the  Llano Largo, team in Guadalupe La Chorrera.

Witnesses said the killer arrived in a taxi walked to where the victim was eating a snack, shot him three times, and then escaped in the same vehicle.



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Four dead two hospitalized  as  La Chorrera gang warfare flares


Posted 24/09/2019

Gang warfare in  La Chorrera, of Panama Oeste, has left four dead, including a woman and three seriously injured.

The first of killing was on September 18  on the Arraiján - La Chorrera highway, when, Wilfredo González Peñalba, was hit by a hail of bullets while driving his vehicle into the interior.

Hours later, , Alex Ramses Araúz Degracia, 23, was shot five times while he was in the Cerro Negro sector in the Guadalupe district, he remains in serious condition in a medical center.

On Sunday, September 22 José del Carmen Mendoza was riddled with bullets while he slept in a  house in the corregimiento of Burunga, in Arraiján.

In the afternoon Luis Navarrete Smith a member of the Llano Largo, football team, was shot dead, shortly after finishing a game.

The last of the victims was recorded at 11:00 p.m. the same day, in sector one of La Pesa, when gunmen shot a couple, resulting in a fatal wound to the head  of Isaura Coronado, 27.

 Tomás Francisco Cedeño, 27 years, is being held in hospital after being shot in the hip near the spine



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Husband of Martinelli legal team lawyer gunned down


Posted 30/09/2019

Francisco Antonio Grajales the lawyer husband of  Jessica Canto, a  lawyer of the legal team that defended former president Ricardo Martinelli during his wiretapping trial was murdered on Calle 11 in the Las Acacias neighborhood of  the Don Bosco district of   Panama City on Monday, September 30.

The incident occurred at 9:00 am and according to local residents of he was summoned to a meeting in the area. When he got out of his gray Toyota Prado, a person was waiting for him, with whom he had a conversation. Then two detonations were heard. One of the shots hit him in the head.

Jessica Canto, relatives, close friends, and Martinelli appeared at the scene reports La Prensa



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On 10/1/2019 at 8:01 AM, Moderator_02 said:



Murdered lawyer was former crooked police captain


Posted 01/10/2019

The lawyer Francisco Antonio Grajales who was murdered in Las Acasias, Don Bosco on Monday, September 30 was a former police captain who had been thrown out of the force and jailed in 2004 for the theft of a cocaine stash from the vault of the Technical Judicial Police.

He was at the time allegedly linked to a major criminal gang.

Grajales was the brother of the lawyer Juan Ramón Messina,  who was shot dead on September 23, 2013, at a restaurant, in San Miguelito.

He was the husband of lawyer Jessica Canto, who is part of the legal team that defended former president  Ricardo Martinelli in the illegal wiretapping case.

Prosecutors, working in coordination with agents of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation, are inquiring into the victim's personal and professional circle, and trying to reconstruct his final steps, thereby establishing the possible motive and identifying the perpetrators of the crime.

According to the preliminary versions, the killing occurred around 9:00 am.

Neighbors told police that, when he got out of his vehicle, a gray Toyota Prado, registered in his wife’s name Grajales was approached by a person, with whom he had a conversation. Then, two shots were heard. He was shot in the chest and head with a  9 mm Glock pistol. Recovered at the scene

His wife and relatives and ex-president Martinelli arrived at the scene.



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Martinelli at funeral mass for murdered lawyer


Posted 04/10/2019

Former president Ricardo Martinelli and former, first lady Marta Linares de Martinelli were among mourners who attended the Friday. October 4 funeral mass of lawyer and former corrupted police captain with gang connections who was gunned down in Las Acacias,  in Don Bosco on   Monday. Francisco Grajales was the husband of Jessica Canto, a lawyer for Martinelli in his  wiretapping trial.



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Lawyer’s alleged killer offered condolences at victim's wake 


Posted 05/10/2019

A  man who went to the wake of a murdered lawyer and ex-corrupted police captain, Francisco Antonio Grajales and offered his condolences to the widow left under arrest as the suspected killer.

According to the lawyer Kevin Moncada, who will be one of the complainants, in the case, the man who was a friend of the family came to offer his condolences to the widow, Jessica Canto and she began beating him.

Apparently she recognized him as the murderer of her husband after having seen a video that circulated Thursday night on social networks, showing the killing of Grajales.

He was gabbed by several of those in the house and police were called.

According to media reports, the suspect showed the video to Canto saying the man shown was smaller than him.

When police units arrived, he was arrested and subsequently placed under the orders of the Public Ministry to begin the due process.

The suspect who had attended the lawyer’s birthday celebration served as the lawyer's intern and helped him get clients and with some research in his cases reports El Siglo.

Grajales was killed on  Monday, September 30, in  Las Acacias in the Don Bosco district.

A video surveillance camera of a residence recorded the moment in which the truck-type vehicle driven by the victim parked on the street. Inside the car was the lawyer next to another man.

The companion opens the passenger door, gets out and there are several detonations.

Grajales opens the driver's door, gets off and walks crouched down to the back of the car trying to get  away from his attacker



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Hitmen kill six-year-old girl in father's arms


Posted 13/10/2019

A six-year-old girl in the arms of her father, as he got out of his car was killed with multiple shots fired by three hitmen at 10 pm on Saturday, October 12, in the province of Colon.

The father Rayon Antonio Grahan. 42, was hit by three bullets and is in hospital in stable condition

The tragedy occurred in building 77 of the Altos de Los Lagos apartment complex.

The Public Ministry (MP) reported that two people linked to the incident were arrested and will be brought before a judge of Guarantees. La Critica reports that Grahan had been a  target on at least two previous occasions.



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Man  Affiliated With Israeli r Organized Crime Ring Gunned down in Panama


Posted 01/11/2019

An Israeli man linked to a  major organized crime ring in his native country was gunned down by an assassin on a motorcycle in the Kennedy furniture store mall on Via Brazil in Panama City on Thursday evening October 31. Another person was injured

Gilad Ben-Shlomo 32 identified with high-profile Israeli mobster Michael Mor, was convicted of extortion by threat and was suspected of blackmailing Jewish businessmen in Central and South America in 2017. 


Police said that their representatives are in contact with the Panama Police, and both teams are inspecting whether Ben-Shlomo was killed against the backdrop of his crimes in Panama or in Israel.

A Ben-Shlomo's acquaintance told Haaretz newspaper that he had left Israel several years ago and wasn't involved in any Israeli crime organization there since. He believed that Ben-Shlomo's murder was linked to his activities in Panama and a settling of local scores.

The victim operated a small commercial store.

According to a law enforcement source, members of Israeli organized crime rings have been moving abroad in recent years and operating from there.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that Ben-Shlomo's case is handled by the ministry's Department of Israeli’s Abroad and that Israel's consul in Panama, Dana Lifshitz and will accompanying his family in transferring the body for burial in Israel.



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Panama Police  operations said  outdated as violence spread


Posted 26/12/2019

As violence continues to spread on the  streets of Panama  including at least five homicides on Christmas Day, lawyer and retired military officer Edgardo Falcón Díaz, told TVN  that the National Police is   70 years out of date  and the force needs to follow Colombia’s example and modernize  its strategies

Falcón Díaz said police officers must be able to deal with all types of cases, between criminal and traffic events and that there is no division in these types of functions because that makes the system dysfunctional.

He recognizes that there has been progress in the use of technology, with the implementation of a  camera surveillance system and with the expansion made by the current administration, but emphasizes that all this will not help if there is no reform in the operation methods. The provision of optimal resources so that agents can give prompt attention to criminal acts is another aspect that must be improved by the authorities, said the policing expert.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Crime Wave Beginning Late August 2019; Reflections About Efficacy of Security Resources
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Six homicides while police search for escaped killer


Posted 08/02/2020

As the National Police poured  extra resources into the search for escaped multi-murderer   Gilberto Ventura, gang-related deaths  on Panama streets soared with five homicides in less than 24 hours  between Tuesday and Wednesday, and a sixth in broad daylight the afternoon rush hour  on Thursday, February 7, in front of the National Institute on Ave de Los Martires

In the last hours, death returned to haunt the streets of the country. Five crimes were committed in less than 24 hours between Wednesday night and Thursday in Panama and Colon.

Two men were killed at about 9:00 on Wednesday night, on Concordia Street, in Pedregal.

A police source reported that the victims were implicated in robbery and homicide cases.

In Chorillo Jean Carlos Saldaña, 18, was hit in the head by a ricocheting bullet while peering from the balcony of his home at a shooting below.

The body of a woman  in her mid-twenties who had been strangled was  found  Thursday   morning,  in the gutter on Avenida Fernández de Córdoba in of Pueblo Nuevo

Investigators believe that the woman's body was thrown in that place in the early hours of the morning. In the afternoon a man driving a car on Central Avenue in Colon was killed by shots from another car.

It was the 11th killing in Colon this year.



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Panama’s murder rampage surges to 105 in two months


Posted 29/02/2020

Forty-one murders in Panama in the first four weeks of  February brought the killing rampage this year to 105 up from 50 in the same period lin 2019.

The assassinations were mostly gang-related but  media reports highlight numerous  collateral deaths

This month the dismembered   body of  14-year- Hernán Ábrego  was found in a ravine in the community of Villa del Carmen in the district of La Chorrera

According to an official source, the boy was suffocated and was stabbed several times in the back.

El Siglo reported the death of Norma Lezcano, 36  shot in the head while going to get water from a neighbor. When assassins arrived to kill a 19-year-old  Cilon gang member,

In  El ChorrJlo. Jean Carlos Saldaña, 18. was in his apartment in at the time shooting in the street below. When he leaned out of the window took place. a bullet hit him right in the head.

The largest  number of homicides were executions like that of Nadir de Jesús Contreras, 35, who was gunned down  at the Santo Tomás stop in Calidonia when he was returning  from  the maternity ward after visiting his newborn son

A double homicide in Juan Díaz followed of quarrels between criminal gangs killed Luis Alfredo Díaz aka 'Pirulín' and Adan Alexander Russel García who were shot by men  on a motorcycle  and killed while riding in a taxi

Criminologist Marcos Álvarez said that the criminal statistics on murders in January and February 2020, is a very powerful indicator of the level of violence that has increased in the country.



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