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Canal Treaty Debate / Torrijos Family Drug Traffic Charges #52709

ABC Evening News for Tuesday, Feb 21, 1978
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(Studio) Secret Senator session in 1903 on debate over building of Panama Canal and present secret Senator session on Canal treaty noted.
REPORTER: Harry Reasoner

(DC) Release of some DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) information discussed in secret session by Intelligence Committee chairperson Birch Bayh reported; information with regard to Panamanian drug connection and involvement of Omar Torrijos and members of his family in it quoted. Mentioned in report are Torrijos brother, Moises, and former Narcotics Bureau director John Ingersoll. Reaction of Senators to drug issue described. [Frank CHURCH - says treaty issue is one of best ints. of US, not what Moises Torrijos may have done years ago.] [Robert DOLE - thinks issue concerns whether or not United States would be propping up corrupt government if treaty ratified.]
REPORTER: Don Farmer

(Panama City, Panama) Reaction of Panamanian government officials to drug trafficking charges before Senator reported Torrijos' recent request for proof against brother, who is now ambassador to Spain, noted. United States officials' speculation that drug traffic through Panama amts. to so much that high government officials couldn't help but be aware of it cited. Background on Torrijos brothers Moises and Hugo noted. Incriminating testimony about Torrijos family given to Senator by former Panamanian intelligence agent Alexis Watson-Castillo reported Castillo's statements made in Miami news conference with regard to drug trade in Panama's free trade zone at Colon, on ships en route from Colombia to United States stated. Ease of entry of drugs into Panama, especially cocaine, through Panama Canal at Colon or at Tocumen Airport described, citing cocaine capture last year at airport which involved connection of Hugo Torrijos. Omar Torrijos' request for proof, Carter admin.'s silence and statement that treaty is what matters reported.
REPORTER: Bernard Shaw

Reporter(s):
Farmer, Don;
Reasoner, Harry;
Shaw, Bernard
Duration:
00:05:00

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