Monday, July 22, 2013

Panama Gov't Confiscated 2 MiGs, Missile Radar In Addition To Missile Parts On N. Korean Ship

North Korean ship attempted to smuggle missile parts, 2 MiG-21 fighter jets and missile radar equipment in hidden containers through the Panama Canal, Ricardo Martinelli, President of Panama reported.

By H. Nelson Goodson
July 22, 2013

Panama - On Sunday, Ricardo Martinelli, President of Panama reported, that the N. Korean ship that was caught attempting to smuggle several missile parts through the canal, also had 2 MiG-21 fighter jets and missile radar equipment in hidden cargo containers under thousands of sacks of sugar. The Cuban government notified Panama that the ship was transporting donated sacks of sugar to N. Korea, but the ship was emptied and officials smelled a strong odor of jet fuel and found the MiGs hidden in the ship. The jets and missile equipment in addition to several containers with missile parts were reported to the U.N. Security Council and the U.S.
It's illegal to transport hidden military equipment and arms through the canal. Transporting arms without declaring them is also illegal, according to Panama officials. They have requested for the U.N. to investigate the seizure of military arms headed to N. Korea. 
N. Korea has demanded for Panama to release the Chong Chang Gang ship, its captain and 33 crew members who have been arrested for attempting to smuggle undeclared weapons. Panama has not released any of the crew or captain who attempted suicide after the missile parts were discovered.
On July 15, Panama officials confiscated containers of missile parts from a North Korean ship trying to go through the Panama Canal. The ship had left Cuba and authorities in Panama believed it was attempting to smuggle drugs after they noticed that the ship captain became angry and the crew rioted.
The ship was taken to an inspection section in the canal where officials discovered the missile parts under a sugar cargo. 
Last week on Monday, Martinelli, President of Panama posted several photos of the missile containers on his Twitter account and announced that the military parts were found inside the cargo ship. 
Martinelli said, drug enforcement officials had spotted the ship after it left Cuba and supected it was carrying drugs. No drugs were found in the ship.

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