PANAMA — Panamanian authorities looking for drugs on a North Korean-flagged vessel instead found military equipment hidden among a cargo of brown sugar.
Authorities seized the vessel and the undeclared haul of weaponry in the Panamanian port of Manzanillo on Monday night, Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said.
Panama’s security minister, Jose Raul Mulino, told CNN the ship had arrived from Cuba.
Panamanian authorities had received intelligence the ship was carrying drugs, but a search Monday revealed military equipment hidden among a cargo of brown sugar.
It was not immediately clear what sort of military equipment was found. A United Nations resolution bans North Korean import and export of most weapons in response to the nation’s nuclear ambitions.
Mulino added that the North Korean crew of 35 resisted arrest, and during the struggle with Panamanian authorities, the ship’s captain attempted to commit suicide.
Panama will ask a United Nations technical support team to inspect the cargo to determine what type of weaponry it is.