An article from Insight Crime on 28 December said that a rush of drug plane traffic from South America, coupled with traffickers smuggling large cocaine shipments after coronavirus border restrictions eased, led to a surge in narcotics transiting Central America this year, including along resuscitated land routes. As an example, in Honduras more cocaine was seized in 7 months than during all of last year, and security forces had destroyed more than 30 hidden airstrips in its north-eastern jungles. It says that the flood of cocaine means the trafficking map in Central America now looks a lot like it did a decade ago, when land corridors were as vital as maritime routes for moving cocaine north from South America. Panama has also seen a boom in cocaine seizures – in 2018, some 73 tons were seized, and a record 78 tons in 2019, then in the first 6 months of 2020, authorities had seized nearly 35 tons – with more than 10 tons of this were seized on boats in waters off the Bocas del Toro province, an archipelago that borders Costa Rica on the Caribbean. As in previous years, Panama authorities also discovered semi-submersible vessels transporting drugs along the country’s shores.
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