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19 arrests after arms trafficking raids on former top security bosses


Posted 14/07/2020

A series of  28 raids at the homes of former high ranking security  officials  including ex-police chiefs in the governments of former presidents Martinelli and Varela took place on Tuesday afternoon under the Specialized Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime  and  Directorate of Investigations (DIJ)

The Office of the Special Prosecutor against said 34 firearms and ammunition were seized, as part of an investigation for alleged arms trafficking.

Among those apprehended are "civilians" and people who "previously held high positions within security levels", prosecutor Emeldo Márquez reported, at a conference held on Tuesday, in which he said that although the case began in March 2019, the period investigated dates back to 2012.

The prosecutor did not specify the names, but said d that some of the 19 arrested are already being "detained."

Among the raided points are the residences of Rolando López, former director of the National Security Council (CSN) , and Ricardo “Ricky” Domínguez, representative of the corregimiento of Bella Vista.

He is also linked to Omar Pinzón and Julio Moltó, former directors of the National Police. Moltó was also the director of the CSN.

 The raids were related to the investigations for the alleged irregular handling or delivery of weapons permits at the Institutional Directorate for Public Security Affairs (Diasp), during previous governments.

There were raids in San Francisco, Costa del Este Villa Lucre, and other points in the capital.

Ex top cop Julio Moltó arrived at the prosecutor’s office in the  Avesa building  on Via Espana but left because he did not pass the entity's biosafety contr


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Weapons of war seizure could put top officials behind bars


Posted 16/07/2020

"Operation Fury" leading to the seizure of dozens of weapons of war could lead to former high ranking security chiefs spending many of their retirement years behind bars alongside some of the “real” criminals they pursued.

From October 2010 to January 2020, a ban was in force for the importation of firearms into Panamanian territory, except for those that were for the use of the State. Presumably some of the weapons that came into the country “legally”, somehow got into the hands of high officials.

The crimes related to the illegal possession or carrying of arms, or their trafficking, included in articles 333 to 335 of the Penal Code, have sanctions that are among the most severe in Panamanian law, reaching more than 20 years in prison in some cases.

The entire trace of the transactions carried out with the weapons is not know or if  there were swindled buyers and holders in good faith. This must be clarified in court reports La Prensa.

Law 57 of 2011 prohibits individuals from possessing weapons of war, even for collection purposes. In this sense, it is unknown which of the accused obtained which weapons. writes Ronaldo Noriega. The truth is that the transactions were legalized before the DIASP of the Ministry of Security. Even later resales were mostly registered in this institution.

To add complexity to this story, the investigation was carried out by the Police Intelligence Directorate, and not the Judicial Investigation Directorate. This could generate vices and, therefore, affect the viability of the cases.



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Top ex-cops charged following arms trafficking raids


Omat Pinzo

Posted 16/07/2020

AFTER a 12-hour marathon Imputation hearing that ended at  2 am on Thursday, July 16  three of Panama’s former top security bosses were indicted for the alleged illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

Ex-National Police Directors Omar Pinzón and  Frank Abrego and Belsio González former Director of the National Border Service (Senafront) and the National Naval Service (Senan) were placed under house arrest. arrest and an impediment to leaving the country, without judicial authorization

the hearing that began at 20 pm on Wednesday, July 15 The judge of guarantees Eric González also imputed the charges to five other people apprehended in “ Operation Fury ”. They are Juan Pineda, Luis Cegarro, Roberto García Dapena, Rafael Bárcenas - former director of the Civil Aeronautical Authority - and Jack Btesh , from the company Aerotécnica de Panamá, SA, who imported the batch of weapons investigated.

The judge issued the precautionary measures for periodic reporting twice a month to García Dapena and Pineda. The rest of the accused have house arrest.

The prosecution had requested the provisional arrest of all.

In the investigation, the Specialized Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime tries to specify why a number of weapons acquired for state security entities were in the possession of individuals and former officials

“Through the positions held by these people, at the times when they were directing state security institutions, as well as other public state institutions, they used end-user certifications to be able to import firearms, including weapons of war and other types of weapons that are currently in the possession of civilians, ”said prosecutor Emeldo Márquez.

By  6:00 pm  Tuesday, 34 weapons had been recovered, in 28 raids carried out in various parts of the country. Those weapons, "with the exception of two, have security levels from the Republic of Panama as their final user," said the prosecutor.

Raids are continuing and more weapons are being recovered and gathering the testimony of people to explain how they acquired them. "We do not rule out that later on it can be imputed to other people and that other criminal acts can be added to those that we have already imputed today," said Márquez.

The judge established a period of six months to complete the investigation



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Bad day in court for former security bosses


ex-security chiefs face arms trafficking charges.

Posted 11/04/2021

Two former heads of  State security departments caught up in Operation Fury which led to their arrest for arms trafficking have suffered setbacks in the Supreme Court. Rolando López, former head of the National Security Council, and Frank Ábrego, former director of the National Border Service (Senafront) , suffered setbacks in different judicial instances in the framework of the case.

López was not granted constitutional guarantees by the Supreme Court, alleging that the guarantee judge Gloria González violated his guarantees by endorsing a raid on his residence, located in the province of Veraguas.

The Court said that the diligence included the location of firearms, cell phones, storage memories, and computers with information through which it could follow the trail of others involved in the alleged commission of the crime.

While the Court of Justice did not grant Ábrego a protection of guarantees against the decision of a guarantee judge who charged him in this case for the alleged commission of the crime of arms trafficking.

The investigation is in charge of Emeldo Márquez, of the Special Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime in addition to López and Ábrego, other former heads of public security organizations are being prosecuted.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Operation Fury - 19 Arrests After Arms Trafficking Raids On Former Top Security Bosses

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