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Originally published Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Panama police arrest 80 members of cocaine ring

Authorities in Panama say they have broken up a major cocaine trafficking organization that moved drugs from Colombia to Panama and then north to Mexico and the United States.

The Associated Press

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PANAMA CITY —

Authorities in Panama say they have broken up a major cocaine trafficking organization that moved drugs from Colombia to Panama and then north to Mexico and the United States.

Panama's Drug Prosecutor Javier Caraballo says 80 Panamanians and Colombians were arrested Monday in simultaneous raids across the Central American country.

Caraballo says the group moved at least 18 tons of cocaine in the last two years mainly through the Caribbean and was led by alleged Colombian drug trafficker Jorge Indalecio Marmolejo.

Caraballo said Tuesday the group distributed cocaine from gangs linked to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Drug gangs are increasingly using Central America to ship drugs and launder money.

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