Gabriel Btesh, a fugitive from Panamanian justice, accused of money laundering and participation in corrupt activities, was detained upon arrival in Miami. Btesh has been reportedly accused of entering the United States without submitting to the required customs and immigration inspection, though a records review does not show a criminal complaint filed against him.
A former editor of "Panama America" during the corrupt regime of fugitive former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, Btesh lost his US Visa long ago, after he was linked to narcotics trafficking from Colombia, together with his associate, the former Minister of Tourism, Salomon Shamah. Btesh, who is a member of Panama's powerful Syrian organized crime syndicate, was involved in the illegal electronic surveillance of Panamanians that is the subject of the criminal case against Martinelli. Btesh also sold arms and ammunition to the FARC.
He had been evading criminal charges in Panama by living in the Middle East. Why he returned to the United States is a mystery, especially since there are confirmed reports that he was the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice, which mandates his arrest wherever found.
It is possible that Btesh will be ultimately deported to his native Panama.
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