Skip to main content

Police find $7.2 million cash stashed in suitcases at airport in Panama

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 5:58 PM EST, Wed January 15, 2014
Police at a Panama airport find more than $7 million stashed inside suitcases on 11 January.
Police at a Panama airport find more than $7 million stashed inside suitcases on 11 January.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police at a Panama airport find more than $7 million stashed inside suitcases
  • They've arrested three Honduran nationals in connection with the cash seizure
  • The suitcases were all stowed on a flight from Honduras
  • Investigators in Honduras are trying to figure out how the money slipped by authorities there

(CNN) -- It started when police found nearly $7.2 million stuffed in eight suitcases at a Panama airport.

Investigators say they suspect the cash, which had been concealed in hidden compartments in luggage on a flight from Honduras, was being moved for a powerful cartel, but they haven't said which one. The money was mostly in U.S. $100 bills, authorities said.

In a case that highlights the regional impacts of the drug trade, now Honduran investigators are trying to figure out how the suitcases slipped by airport authorities, drug police and special investigators at the Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa.

Authorities have suspended dozens of officers as they investigate, Honduran police told CNN affiliate Televicentro.

Panamanian police, who described the suitcase stash as their largest seizure in years, arrested three Honduran nationals at Tocumen International Airport.

Rabbi returns $98,000 he found in desk he bought on Craigslist

Gambler gives $10K reward to Vegas cabbie who found his $300K

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 3:21 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT