When it comes to Central America, all eyes are usually on the Northern Triangle. But 2016 saw local organized crime in Costa Rica and Panama -- traditionally oases of calm in the region -- enter unprecedented territory.
Authorities in Panama say they have seized more drugs in 2016 than in any other year since 2000, and soaring cocaine production in neighboring Colombia may be the most likely explanation behind this rise.
Panama's forest areas are seeing a growth in illegal mining, raising the question of which criminal organizations are behind these activities.
Recent murder statistics from Panama reveal that the most violent areas of the country coincide with those where gang presence is strongest.