June starts with 12 gangland homicides

1,162Views 0Comments Posted 07/06/2023


June was welcomed with a burst of gang violence on the streets of Panama, San Miguelito, and Colón resulting in at least 12 deaths in the settling of accounts related to drug trafficking.

Among the reported murders is that of José Ángel Pierce Guerrero and Silverio McGregor, aged 24 and 30, respectively, who were intercepted by several armed individuals in the Verona neighborhood, in the district of 24 de Diciembre, Tocumen. According to police reports, the attackers carried AK-47s  with which they opened fire on both victims, who died at the scene.

Meanwhile, a 55-year-old woman was killed with several bullet wounds in the early hours of  Sunday in the Viñedos neighborhood, in Las Garzas de Pacora..

On Sunday morning, 26-year-old Christian E. Villanueva was shot by several unknown persons in Tocumen.

In San Miguelito, a 17-year-old girl died on Sunday night in sector 19 of Nuevo Veranillo, after several people were shot from a moving car at those attending a party on a soccer field. Another 11 people were injured.

According to police reports, most of the crimes are linked to feuds between gangs and many of the attacks occurred in the clandestine “parkings” (parties without permission from the authorities), which take place mainly on weekends.

Deputy Commissioner Elmer Caballero, who is in charge of the San Miguelito police area, said that 70 parties of this type were reported last weekend. The police intervened in several of these illegal celebrations, where firearms, alcohol, drugs, and excessive noise prevail.

177 homicides
According to figures from the Public Ministry, until April 30, a total of 177 homicides had been registered, 40 more than those committed in the same period in 2022.

However, these figures do not exceed those of 2021, when 183 murders were reported in the first four months.

The figures highlight that 92% of the victims are male and 8% are female.

16% of the murdered men were between 18 and 24 years of age. While 15% were in the range of 25 to 29 years of age and another 16% ranged from 30 to 34 years.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Public Security, Juan Pino, announced the deployment of another 200 police officers in San Miguelito, to reinforce surveillance work.

Another 135 officers were sent to Colón and Portobelo.

Pino has also said that 80% of the crimes registered in the country are related to drug trafficking and the gangs that are dedicated to their local distribution.

Last February, the Ministry of Security deployed personnel from the National Aeronaval Service (Senan) and the National Border Service (Senafront) in San Miguelito, given the rise in homicide cases related to gangs and drug trafficking.

The former detective of the Judicial Technical Police (PTJ), David Villarreal, agrees with the authorities that the rise in homicide cases is due to temporary situations, whether territorial disputes between rival gangs, drug rackets, and contract killings.

Villarreal emphasizes the need to apply preventive programs for the recovery of young people at social risk. He recalled that many drop out of school and are recruited by gangs.

Crime should not only be attacked repressively. In his opinion, alternatives must be found to recover young people who are looking for job opportunities to help their families.