Panama authorities confiscated more than 600 kilos of heroin, worth at least $70 million, from a car in a remote town on the Caribbean coast.
The drug cargo was divided into 639 packages, each weighing at least one kilo, and sealed with tape. It was stored in a parked car in the town of Gobea, close to the port of Colon, officials announced Monday.
Anti-drugs prosecutor Javier Caraballo said that the drugs came from South America and that traffickers were meant to pick it up in Gobea and transport it to North America.
Caraballo said that authorities will investigate whether the unusually large amount of the shipment is a sign that traffickers are changing their modus operandi.
Police arrested three individuals who were traveling in a car nearby. Another two people were arrested Sunday in Panama City, with 468 kilos of cocaine.
As InSight Crime has argued, Panama, traditionally one of the parts of the region less troubled by gang violence, could be seeing an increase in the presence of organized criminal groups. Since 2007, there has been a rise in gang activity and in the quantities of drugs passing through its borders.