Panama Stops North Korean Ship for Drugs, Finds Cuban Missile Instead

Drug enforcement officials stopped a North Korean vessel on its way through the Panama Canal Monday, only to find sophisticated missile material "hidden in a consignment of sugar."

Suspicion was aroused when the ship's North Korean captain tried to kill himself and his 35-man crew began to riot, attempting to "sabotage the search"—a noticeable break from the international weapon transporters keep it casual code.

President Ricardo Martinelli issued a stern warning that the Panama Canal was not open to this kind of monkey business:

"The world needs to sit up and take note: you cannot go around shipping undeclared weapons of war through the Panama Canal," he told Radio Panama listeners.

Specialists may need as long as a week to examine the cargo, which appeared to include missiles. But the photo tweeted by Martinelli is a pretty strange crystallization of sugar:

According to the Associated Press, the ship, named Chong Chon Gang, was traveling to North Korea from Cuba, "a rare ally of also-isolated Pyongyang."

h/t @Tcarmody

[Image via Getty]