The result was presented by the Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa Delgado, before his counterparts who held a meeting in Panama. In his speech, he highlighted the importance of having an effective mechanism such as the assets seizure process to weaken drug trafficking and organized crime.
The Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa Delgado, participated in the regional meeting about trends – drug trafficking during the Covid 19 denominated ‘Encuentro Regional sobre Tendencias – Tráfico de Drogas durante la Pandemia por Covid 19’, in which representatives of other Attorney General’ Offices and Public Ministries of Central and South America participated and shared experiences in the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime.
In Ciudad de Panama, the Attorney General stated that the investigative processes led by the institution and the coordination of capacities with the public allowed the seizure of 360 tons of cocaine hydrochloride and marijuana in 2021, a higher number in comparison to year 2020 in which 337 tons were seized.
Likewise, 4,900 people were arrested and 350 micro and drug trafficking structures were dismantled thanks to the implementation of a comprehensive strategy to attack the illegal chain of production, distribution and transport of narcotics, which applies to local networks and transnational organizations.
“I honestly believe that there are no distinctions between micro-trafficking and drug trafficking in our cities. They are structures that are changing. Just as countries diversify their export activities, criminals diversify their market and, in this sense, they leave one part for domestic consumption and another for exportation”, emphasized Attorney General Barbosa Delgado.
During his intervention, he also emphasized the benefits of the assets seizure process, a mechanism that has allowed the Colombian justice system to weaken criminal structures and seize their assets. He invited the Panamanian authorities to define joint actions to seize the illicit assets and investments derived from crime.
“Without having this instrument, which also implies a transnational background of cooperation, Colombia could not have been able to face drug trafficking and crime. If Panama has this law, the work with Colombia will be much easier and much more coordinated”, said the Attorney General.
Between 2020 and 2021, the Office of the Attorney General issued precautionary actions such as suspension of power to alienate a property on 3,000 assets, whose value exceeds 4.000 million dollars. Real estate, companies, vehicles, shares, livestock, minerals and other types of items were placed under the authority of Sociedad de Activos Especiales (SAE) since their origin could not be justified.
The Attorney General explained that this result has been possible thanks to the implementation of the ‘Argenta’ strategy that was designed to identify, prosecute and affect the patrimony and assets of all the illegal activities detected in the country such as drug trafficking, crimes against public safety and natural resources, corruption networks, and taxes, among others.
The regional meeting that took place in Panama was chaired by the Procurador General of Panama, Javier Caraballo Salazar, and prosecutors and representatives of public ministries from Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil attended the meeting in person and virtually.
When we speak, results follow.