The United States donated a US $ 4.9 million worth hangar and military equipment to Panama on Tuesday to reinforce the fight against drug and human trafficking as well as operations to deal with emergencies on Colombia's border.
The hangar, whose construction took about a year at a cost of 2.1 million dollars, is at the base of the Aeronaval National Service (Senan) located in Metiti, a community in the Darien province, on the border with Colombia, where the official ceremony took place.
This border area is used by the transnational crime as a corridor for the migrants' traffic from all over the world and who seek to reach the United States, as well as for drugs' transfer.
The US donation includes vans, ambulances, off-road vehicles, tractors, spare parts for anti-drug boats and devices for night and thermal vision, just over $ 2.8 million worth equipment, and they were delivered to the National Border Service (Senafront) and the Anti-Drug Operations Tactical Unit (UTOA), indicated the official information.
The Minister of Public Security, Jonattan Del Rosario, assessed as "very important" the United States' donation, a country with which Panama "works closely" in the fight against drugs' scourge and human trafficking.
The United States "has recognized the great contribution made by Panama to the security not only of the country but of the region," and the donation "is complemented by what we have been doing with the Panamanian budget" within the framework of a strategy that seeks to "build capacity "to act" from the base of interagency operations," added the Minister of Security.
Del Rosario stressed that "drug's production and drug trafficking in the South of the continent continues to increase," he explained it is a challenge for Panama, which has managed the situation to the point of becoming the fourth country in the world with the most seized drugs.
"We are working very closely with the United States Government, with other neighboring countries, friends, in the fight against transnational crime, but we will always need the active collaboration of citizens" to "identify networks and dismantle them," said the Panamanian Minister.
He also stressed that "50% of intentional homicides" registered in Panama in 2018 "were directly related to drug trafficking, and this year the trend is very similar."
For his part, the US interim ambassador in Panama, Roxanne Cabral, said the donation was planned for a year and that is a further demonstration of his country's "constant commitment" to the Panamanian anti-narcotic fight and people trafficking.
The general director of the SENAN, Gilberto Mendez, said that with the hangar in Meteti it will be possible to carry out maintenance work on the aircraft without the need to take them to the Panamanian capital, and there will be "a helicopter ready to support the Senafront and the security operations."
The deputy director of the Senafront, Oriel Ortega, remarked that equipment such as "fourth generation viewers are going to help to project more capabilities in the nocturnal operations of drugs' interventions".