The War on Drugs:

Narcotics Control Efforts in Panama

NSIAD-91-233: Published: Jul 16, 1991. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Panama's narcotics control efforts, focusing on the: (1) extent of narcotics-related activities in Panama; and (2) status of U.S. and Panamanian efforts to reduce such activities.

GAO found that: (1) although reliable statistics on the volume of drugs passing through Panama are not available, the amount of cocaine seized in Panama has increased; (2) drug trafficking continues because Panama's law enforcement agencies are unable to patrol all of the known transshipment points and areas around Panama's border and traffickers no longer have to make large payments to former government officials for drug shipments to pass through Panama; (3) Panama continues to be a haven for money laundering, due to its commercial and financial infastructure; (4) Panama's enforcement capability to address drug trafficking and money laundering problems is hindered by a lack of resources and adequately trained personnel; (5) to help combat narcotics-related activity, the United States signed several anti-narcotics agreements with Panama; (6) several U.S. agencies are involved in programs to assist and strengthen Panamanian enforcement agencies; and (7) the United States provided Panama with about $1 million in aid to strengthen Panama's ability to identify, apprehend, and prosecute drug traffickers.