Help US Partners in Panama Improve Border Security
Drug Trafficking Organizations and Transnational Criminal Organizations have operated for decades in Panama. Due to its geographic location, Panama is a strategic trafficking route and money laundering hub for these groups smuggling narcotics north to the United States. The National Border Service, SENAFRONT, is one of the agencies responsible for maintaining the border between Panama and Costa Rica. Due to Panama’s location along the land routes that narco-traffickers use to move drugs north out of Colombia, SENAFRONTs interdiction efforts utilize drug-sniffing K9s at multiple locations along the Panama-Costa Rica border.
SENAFRONT has teams of working K9 dogs to help interdict illicit activity, however, their Battalions do not have kennel facilities at every station. For the Western Battalion responsible for the main checkpoint on the western route between Panama and Costa Rica, SENAFRONT officers had to drive over an hour away, on mountain roads, to pick up the dogs at another checkpoint. Once the K9s arrived, they were able to put in a few hours of work, and then would have to be returned to their kennels over an hour away. The daily trips took their toll on the K9 officers and their dogs, tiring them before their work even began, and placed them at risk while driving on dangerous roads daily. Consequently, the daily commute limited the ability of the K9s to inspect vehicles at their respective checkpoints and left the checkpoint susceptible for continued smuggling operations.
Following discussions with the officers at the checkpoint, the US Army Civil Affairs Team deployed in Panama identified the need to Spirit of America for on-site kennels to house the K9s. Once the problem was identified, Spirit of America immediately started working to acquire local materials to build the kennels. Building a proper kennel at the Santa Clara station has enabled the working dogs to perform their mission, day in and day out, thus enhancing SENAFRONT’s capability to disrupt Transnational Criminal Organizations and illicit trafficking.
Please help support Spirit of America donate the materials needed for the construction of new kennels to help SENAFRONT officers and their K9s protect the border and stem the tide of illegal drugs smuggled into the United States through the southern border. At the same time, this project will help build a stronger relationship between the US Soldiers and their Panamanian partners as they work together to increase stability in the region.