Over 7.2 million in cash found this week has revealed to Panama City authorities that a widespread police corruption ring may be underway in what is likely a drug money plot involving a Honduran drug cartel. An undisclosed tip helped law enforcement officials discover bundles of $100 bills stowed away in a number of suitcases during the major find. eCanada Now tells the details on this massive bust this Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014.
The 7.2 million in cash found may only be a piece of the puzzle in what the Panama government is calling an “expanding scandal of potential police corruption.” Country officials arrested three Honduran nationals earlier this week after they received a credible tip of a huge drug money run coming in. The bust occurred at Tocumen International Airport.
After stopping the three men and investigating their luggage, authorities at the airport who managed to catch the nationals seized a total of 8 separate suitcases. Within the drug-tainted baggage was a number of $100 bills tucked away inside, amounting to a grand total of 7.2 million of U.S. money. Roughly 9,000 dollar notes were packed within each bag, added the report.
According to the press release, local authorities were hard-pressed to accept that such a massive amount of tainted money was able to slip through the Honduran airport in the first place to even make it to Panama City. Now, investigators believe that dirty police officials may be taking part in the drug trafficking ring. So far, a minimum of two dozen police officers have been placed under an indeterminate suspension until the matter (and alleged scandal) is resolved.
Before having the 7.2 million in cash found, investigators also believe that some officers may have known about the illicit drug money runners and allowed them to pass through security without incident. There is also the issue of whether the numerous $100 bills would have been discovered had the helpful tip not helped the Honduran men be finally caught.
“In a case that highlights the regional impacts of the drug trade, now Honduran investigators are trying to figure out how the suitcases slipped by airport authorities, drug police and special investigators at the Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa,” CNN announces via their television coverage.
At this point in time, the 7.2 million in cash found is thought to have originated from a powerful Honduran drug cartel, though Panamanian or Honduran authorities have not hinted as to which cartel that might possibly be. Thus far, dozens of police officers have been taken off of duty during the growing and troubling scandal.