Panamanian Attorney General visits Eastern District of Texas

staff reports
An Eastern District of Texas Courthouse sits in downtown Sherman.

Attorney General Javier Caraballo, of the Republic of Panama joined Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei; Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Division Eduardo Chavez; Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin of Homeland Security Investigations, Dallas Field Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jamey Van Vliet; U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector in Charge Tom Noyes and Coppell Police Chief Danny Barton in the Eastern District of Texas to discuss investigations and advancements in joint efforts to curtail transnational criminal organizations operating between the United States and Panama.

During the meeting, officials discussed significant cases involving the encroachment of the Colombian Cartel, “Clan del Golfo,” into Panama.  The Clan del Golfo is a drug trafficking organization responsible for multi-ton cocaine shipments originating from Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico for further distribution to the United States.  The organization airplanes, go-fast boats, semi-tractor trailer trucks, and passenger vehicles to transport the majority of its cocaine shipments. 

Federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in the Eastern District of Texas have worked tirelessly with Latin American countries, including Panama, to extradite and prosecute drug traffickers who continue to target the United States as a final destination for their drug trafficking enterprises.  The partnership between EDTX and Panama in particular has generated tremendous results, with anti-narcotics operations resulting in the seizure of over 145 tons of cocaine and 75 defendants extradited to the Eastern District. 

“Protecting our communities, fighting the scourge of drug and human trafficking, and combatting money laundering and fraud requires a strong relationship and effective communication between national partners with shared values including a commitment to the rule of law,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.  “That is why the United States is grateful for the cooperation of the Republic of Panama, and in particular the support of today’s guest, Attorney General for the Republic of Panama, Javier Caraballo Salazar.  Panama is a vital partner to the United States in fighting transnational organized crime, counter-narcotics, and border security.  And since taking office earlier this year, Attorney General Caraballo has continued and strengthened that partnership.”

“We appreciate the participation and support of the Republic of Panama and the Attorney General for the Republic of Panama Javier Caraballo Salazar in sending a unified message to those, who without remorse, intend to gain profits by peddling their poisons into our communities, that they will be found and held accountable no matter where they attempt to hide”, said Eduardo A. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division.  “Recent successes were possible because of the cooperation of national and international partners like the Republic of Panama and the Attorney General for the Republic of Panama Javier Caraballo Salazar.  DEA Dallas remains resolute on dismantling local and transnational criminal organizations who are trafficking drugs, creating drug violence, and causing drug related deaths within our communities.  Together, we will make safe neighborhoods.”

“HSI’s long standing relationship with Panama has led to the arrests of dozens of transnational criminal organization members, the seizure of thousands of pounds of narcotics and millions of dollars in illicit proceeds,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge Homeland Security Investigations Dallas. “Our law enforcement partnership with Panama is even more critical now as we work together to ensure that our transnational public safety threats are eliminated and the vulnerable protected in our communities.”

These cases are the result of extensive joint investigations by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF).  OCDETF agents and prosecutors handle complex investigations and prosecutions of the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, and other priority transnational criminal organizations that threaten the citizens of the United States.