PANAMA CITY - Panama said on Friday it had arrested 59 people as part of an investigation into a drug trafficking ring with links to Colombia's Marxist FARC rebels and Mexico's Sinaloa cartel.
The 18-month investigation into the organisation, which used Panama as the base for its smuggling operations, led to the seizure of drugs, cars, speed-boats and cash, and the discovery of various bank accounts used to launder drug money, Javier Caraballo, Panama's anti-drug investigator, said in a press conference.
The majority of those arrested were either Mexican or Colombian, and many had entered the country as tourists, some with fake names, Caraballo said.
He added that Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico collaborated in the investigation.
The FARC was founded in 1964 to fight for rural land reform but has been deeply involved in the narcotics trade. The rebels are currently in the midst of peace negotiations with the Colombian government to end a decades-long conflict that has killed more than 220,000 people.
As part of the negotiations, the FARC has already agreed to put an end to the illegal drugs trade.
Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, the world's most-wanted drug lord, led the powerful Sinaloa cartel until his capture earlier this year. He is now behind bars.