Hearing the words "Cuba," "Missiles" and "North Korean," tends to make most Americans uncomfortable, and now international officials are trying to figure out the mystery of why exactly those words all ended up together in this headline.
Officials in Panama stopped a North Korean ship after it illegally tried to carry the suspected missiles through the Panama Canal. The ship was stopped on Monday in the Atlantic Ocean, and Panama has since taken control of the vessel.
"We had suspected this ship, which was coming from Cuba and headed to North Korea, might have drugs aboard so it was brought into port for search and inspection," Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli said on Radio Panama yesterday. "When we started to unload the shipment of sugar we located containers that we believe to be sophisticated missile equipment, and that is not allowed."
According to CNN when Martinelli was asked if the material was missiles, he only replied, "Maybe."
The President even tweeted a picture of one of the suspected missiles.
Panamá capturo barco de bandera Norcoreana proveniente de cuba con cargamento bélico no declarado pic.twitter.com/MdWGfbXvVJ— Ricardo Martinelli (@rmartinelli) July 16, 2013
Stranger still was the scene that followed when Panamanian officials stopped the ship. The 35 crew members resisted the seizure, and then the captain had a heart attack and tried to commit suicide.
Though full details of that incident haven't been released, the odd behavior is what caused Martinelli to personally tour the ship himself.
Panamanian officials have only searched one of the ship's five cargo holds, but believe their may be more contraband on the ship that had just left Cuba.