Crossover Week: Kingpins (Manuel Noriega Pt. 2)

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Due to the graphic nature of this kingpins crimes listener discretion is advised this episode includes discussions of torture rape and murder that some people may find offensive. We advise extreme caution for children under thirteen. It was nineteen eighty Panamanian dictator. Omar Torrijos was having dinner with a roomful of friend statesman. He was Moody Quiet. A friend asked him how the National Guard was doing to. R- hose told him to ask his intelligence chief. Tony Noriega. Only Noriega knew everything that was happening the night before Noriega had sent a plane full of weapons to the guerrilla fighters in El Salvador. The plane crashed and by daybreak everyone in the world new Panama had been secretly aiding the rebels. There already tenuous relationship with America had been damaged. But that wasn't what bothered Torrijos. What really worried him was. That Noriega hadn't even told him the mission was happening. Torrijos had given his second in command almost limitless power. He trusted him. And now Noriega was keeping secrets from him if he hadn't been told about this military operation. What else was his most trusted ally hiding for all torrijos new while he was safe at the Capitol dining with his powerful friends. Tony Noriega was plotting his demise. Hi I'm how hard it and I'm kate. Leonard and this kingpins on the podcast network. Every Friday we journey inside the ranks of Organized Crime Rings From Street gangs to mafiosos to understand how a kingpin or Queen Pin Rises to the top of the underworld and why they fall as we follow the lives of infamous crime. Bosses will explore how money and power changed them and how it changed the community around them. This is our second episode on. Manuel Antonio Noriega a tyrant who ran one of the most successful crime and intelligence monopolies in the world in the nineteen seventies and eighties. All while protected and funded by the American government last week we explored his meteoric rise to power through Panama's military. This week will take a look at Noriega's time as dictator of Panama and the American coup. That finally brought him down. You can listen to all of podcast shows on apple podcasts. Spotify stitcher Google play cast box or your favorite podcast directory. And if you enjoy the show. One of the best ways to help us is to leave a five star review wherever you listen to podcasts. Manuel Antonio Noriega was the power behind the Panamanian military dictatorship from nineteen sixty eight to nineteen eighty one as well as one of the C. I. A. as most important informants as both an American asset and dictator Omar Torrijos. His right hand man. Forty two year. Old Noriega enjoyed more power than he had ever dreamed of with complete immunity from the law. He seized control of Panama's extensive drug and gun smuggling empires taking a cut of every piece of contraband. That crossed the border. He was also as the CIA was about to discover collecting classified secrets from multiple world powers and selling them to the highest bidder. The Americans discovered where Noriega was true loyalties laid in the summer of nineteen seventy six. It was a testy time between the United States and Panama Canal Treaty. Negotiations had rear their ugly head and the people of Panama had made their agenda clear. The Americans occupied the canal zone for seventy three years and it was time for them to go. The CIA's prized informant. Tony Noriega was just stirring the pot. He had reasoned correctly that if the United States had asked him to record classified conversations they were probably asking their other assets to do the same. Those recordings would be worth a fortune to other world. Powers Noriega found. The systems weak spot. America's own military sergeants. He generously bribed a few soldiers into selling him tapes of their conversations with foreign dignitaries. He then sold the tapes to the Cubans the Soviets and anyone else willing to pay a price when the US army discovered what happened. They privately reprimanded the sergeants and closed the file. Hushing up the whole embarrassing episode but the scandal eventually started to leak. Us intelligence agencies for their part had no desire to prosecute their valuable asset. So when the Senate came asking about Noriega they pointed the finger back at the army the army of course told the Senate. The case was already closed and refused to share any documents or records without any evidence or cooperation the US government could only try and fail to bring a case against Noriega the CIA officially took Noriega off their payroll after the scandal came to light but it was too late to rain in the monster they'd created with the money he had received from selling those tapes. He expanded Panama's National Guard from a militia of five thousand men into a true military of fifteen thousand soldiers and one hundred fifty thousand public servants. It was a cash cow of an investment. The new and improved military generated an annual profit of one hundred million dollars both through its military duties and through the smuggling and prostitution rings. Noriega hired them to oversee both the drug and gun running operated with a precision that would put most businesses today to shame. Bulk shipments were flown into Panama. Then to their final destinations in the United States wants contraband reached the US. Contacts Noriega had planted in customs and shipping would fudge the paperwork. And let them through. Without Inspection Noriega didn't even have to be involved. He simply collected his cut publicly. The C. I. A. Dropped Noriega as an informant after the bribery scandal. But privately they didn't want to jeopardize their relationship with the shadow dictator. There was no effort to crackdown Panama's state-sanctioned Smuggling Noriega's flagrant disregard for the US wasn't just out of carelessness. He had a far greater reason to fan. The flames of tension between the two countries dictator. Torrijos had become popular based on his promise that once the Panama Canal. Treaties were finalized. He would turn over control of the country to the elected civilian government but in the midst of the tensions between the US and Panama. The people now saw the military dictatorship as a necessary evil in their fight against US occupation public opinion was now squarely behind Torrijos. And when the time was right all the pieces would be in place for Noriega himself to assume the dictator ship after all this the. Us still considered Noriega useful in fact by being public enemies the US and Panama were reaping even more private benefits. They're secret arrangement. Came in handy in November of Nineteen seventy-nine president. Jimmy Carter had offered to open America's border to the exiled Shah of Iran in response anti-american students in Tehran stormed the American embassy and took sixty six people hostage. If the American hostages had any hope of survival the Shaw would have to leave American soil and fast. The shock couldn't go back to Iran or he'd be executed he couldn't stay with anyone considered un-american ally or it would just reaffirm. America's guilt in the eyes of the Iranian people so the US turned to Panama Publicly Panama. And the United States were feuding in Nineteen seventy-nine Torrijos could offer the Shaw asylum without tipping. Anyone off that the US had been involved. Torrijos gave the duty of protecting and housing. The Shah to Tony Noriega to anyone else. This babysitting job would have been insulting even humiliating. But Noriega saw it for what it could be a babysitting detail that would make him rich. Beyond his wildest dreams access to the exiled shaw could give him highly valuable Intel to sell to the highest international bidder. Tony was already seeing dollar signs in his eyes in preparation for the arrival. Tony met with the Shah's advisor. Robert R Maiyo to find a house for the fallen monarch. Tony drove our maiyo around Panama watching for signs that a house had caught the advisers. I- Tony's response was immediate and cocky. You like that one it's yours. It didn't matter if people were already living in it. Tony was determined to show off his place. In Panama's pecking order. Eventually he drove back to the airfield wherein electra turboprop plane was waiting. The plane looked like it was held together with duct tape. Tony grinned. As they boarded he could protect the Shah here to even if the plane fell apart. Tony flu are Maiyo over. Contadora island where the wealthy lived in mansions over the golden beaches and Turquoise Ocean. He pointed out the compound that belonged to Panama's former ambassador to the United States. This would be the perfect place to house. The Shaw his wife. It was quiet secure. And it gave Noriega the perfect opportunity to rob the shop lined. Tony's plans for the Shaw's trip were extensive. He wallpapered his office with schedules and maps. He chose men from the National Guard to form to protection details when the Shah arrived in Panama. A couple days later Tony wasted no time in presenting the bill. He charged the Shah for his guards. Pay and then requested ten thousand dollars per month for two small shacks where the men could stay. The Shaw was also build for the guards meals their booze and their romps with local sex workers he charged show offer the mobile van. He parked beside the home and for the bugs he secretly planted in each room of the house. Then he charged the same amounts to the Panamanian defense budget keeping all of the Shaw's payments for himself during the one hundred day visit. Tony pocketed more than twelve million dollars of the Shaw's money and that barely skimmed the surface of what he made selling tape recordings of the Shah and his wife to competing foreign governments for the most part dictator. Torrijos was fine with his intelligence chiefs opportunism but he was starting to grow worried about how much influence he'd allowed. Tony Noriega to accumulate. Torrijos had never cared much about state affairs and he'd quickly grown bored of his political responsibilities for years he'd been happy to let. Noriega run the country while he sat back and reveled in his position but by nineteen eighty one. The on we had started to infect every aspect of the dictator's life wealth and power had lost their allure. He had even stopped womanizing and fallen back in love with his wife. Torrijos had thought about stepping down. But he was afraid of what the country would look like. If he let Noriega take control by that. Point Noriega knew more about Panama's affairs than Torrijos. Did he running his own. Intelligence operations in military missions without even telling the dictator. Torrijos was starting to wonder what else he didn't know about and whether his loyal second in command could really be trusted. He didn't have to worry for long on July thirty first. Nineteen eighty one to rehome. Twin Propeller plane crashed into a mountain. He died immediately just like that is thirteen year. Rule came to fiery end. No one knows if the crash was an accident. Planned by the way by Anti Torrijos opposition leaders or by Noriega himself. Since Noriega never investigated the incident whatever the cause Torrijos. His death created a power vacuum all across Panama. The military leaders in line for the dictatorship began plotting their ascent if only they notice the shatter. We figure lurking behind the throne. Hoy's plunges dagger into their backs up next. We'll take a look at. How Manuel Antonio Noriega beat out all of his competitors to take control of his country now back to the story. Manuel Antonio Noriega had controlled Panama in all but name for years before dictator. Torrijos finally met his end in nineteen eighty one now. He would have to fight to remain in power as the country searched for its next military leader. Despite his laziness and Corruption Torrijos had been a popular leader job. Opportunities had soared as shady banks and money laundering operations crowded the country. He hadn't tried to control. The personal lives of his citizens like so many dictators had before him. Of course Tony Noriega had terrorized the opposition party but to the people of Panama. Torrijos remain separate from the brutality of his pineapple. Phased enforcer when Torrijos died the public wanted a successor who would keep his legacy alive initially torrijos his chief of Staff Colonel Florez took over as dictator. Flores was a lot like Torrijos. He didn't like ruling. He didn't know much about military leadership and cared justice little about civilian leadership but floors is lax attitude made him weak in the eyes of the three men behind him in line. For the dictatorship first in line after flora's was Colonel Ruben Perez. Who We mentioned last week. He had been sent to Cuba with Noriega to negotiate with Fidel Castro parade. Ace was handsome articulate and confident and in many ways the ideal candidate he was middle class and mixed race which made him appealing to the lower classes. He was also a horse breeder giving him close access to the social elite. Second line was a man named colonel. Contreras who oversaw. A large section of the National Guard and third in line was Tony Noriega. He had been close to Torrijos. But as a lieutenant colonel he had less official power than the others if he wanted to keep his influence. It would take some maneuvering shortly after Torrijos. Died in Nineteen eighty-one. These three military leaders met in secret to discuss what was to be done about their new dictator. Colonel Florez Colonel Parade Ace. Who was first in line was committed to balancing the power between the military and the civilian government. He was a military figure himself but he believed the military's power had gotten out of hand. His plan was to become military. Dictator slowly transition more power to the civilian sector and then retire is dictator to become the civilian president the Panamanian people would be pleased with the show of progress and the civilian and military governments could finally cooperate instead of warring power. If he had any chance of pulling this off he needed assurance that the two men in line behind him. Contrary US and Noriega wouldn't try to stage a coup and take over. He proposed an arrangement. They worked together to oust. Flora's and then take turns serving as military commander parade as would be commander from nineteen eighty one to nineteen eighty-three at which time he would turn over power to control rarest and run for president in. Nineteen eighty-four contraire would take over as commander from one thousand nine hundred eighty four to nineteen eighty-six. The Noriega would get his chance from one thousand nine hundred eighty seven to nineteen eighty nine. Everyone agreed there was just one more step. They needed to get rid of Florus. The plan was to use Noriega's personal national guards to surround the government building where Flora's was staying. Then they would pressure floor is to give up the office. They knew he wasn't going to fight. For it. Noriega literally arrived late to the coup. The other men feared that at any moment he might choose to side with Flora's and arrest Colonel Parade as for treason. But Noriega was thinking much farther ahead for now. He went along with the plan with the National Guard. Surrounding the capital Florez easily agreed to step down. Colonel Paradees took office as military commander of Panama. Peretti's next step was to remove. Colonel Contreras the second in line for the dictatorship. He was suspicious. The contrary would betray their contract and stage. A coup. To Take Power Noriega. Went along with this doing everything he could to appear loyal with contrary us out of the way. Noriega was now second in line parade. Ace was oblivious to the fact that he just traded a lamb for a wolf in sheep's clothing after two years in August. Nineteen eighty-three Peretti's stepped down to run for civilian president. Just as planned. His Final Act was to make Tony Noriega general so that he could take over as military commander that was the step Noriega was waiting for. He already owned the military through his back door. Politics and secret friendships. Now as a general it was official to celebrate. His promotion. Noriega threw a party at Fort. Almodovar it was one of the largest gaudy parties in Panama history. There was a full military parade dancing horses in a VIP list of influential. American Generals Noriega gave a toast and thanked paradise. But everyone in the room knew who was really holding all the cards as a final. Cheer Noriega called out to parade is when salt or Ruben. It was a phrase paratrooper said before diving out of airplanes. It meant have a good jump. The next day Noriega began his plan to oust. Peretti'S FROM POWER ENTIRELY I. He showed off a letter from Fidel Castro claiming he would withdraw Cuban alliances with Panama. If Peres was elected president weather the letter was authentic or not. It startled the civilian government enough to withdraw their support for parade is's campaign. Then Noriega quietly told American intelligence officers and Panamanian rebel groups that a former general leg parade as would never trade power to the civilian sector. Both groups quickly withdrew their support. As well finally Noriega warned businessmen that their lucrative military contracts would disappear if the military lost power to parade. Is's civilian government that was enough to change their minds in just three weeks. Noriega had torpedoed. Beretta's presidential campaign. There was no chance he would win. The next year is election and he had already resigned as military dictatorship to forty nine year old. Toni Noriega Noriega wasted. No time in seizing more control and any dictator before him within a few weeks. He passed a law that gave him explicit control over all customs immigration airports ports the army the navy the police and even parking enforcement the law also stated that all those branches would remain under. Noriega's personal control no matter who became dictator or president in the future. He began paying military officers and businessmen upwards of twenty thousand dollars a month to secure their continued loyalty. He cozied up to Nicaragua Cuba China Russia and his old friends in the US. He expanded his stake in Panama's drug smuggling by getting close to the Medellin cartel one of the two biggest cocaine cartels in Colombia. The cartel paid Noriega three percent of each shipment that made it through Panama into the US and two percent of the money they laundered in Panama's banks in total Noriega would help the Miyun a union cartel transfer and launder over two billion dollars in cocaine during the eighties. Earning him tidy profit of at least sixty million dollars that would be over one hundred fifty million today by Nineteen eighty-four the elections for civilian president or a fast approaching parade as was no longer in the running but someone would still have to fill the position. Noriega's chosen candidate was Nicholas Barletta. The President of one of his corrupt banks. Barletta was not only comfortable with money laundering. But he had also been unofficially informing to American intelligence. Which Noriega new and oversaw. He was the ideal correct candidate. The only problem was he was running against Arnulfo. Arias the popular man who Noriega and Torrijos had ousted as president years before he had finally returned to Panama and he was ready to take the presidency once again. The Panamanian people absolutely adored Arias if Noriega had him assassinated he would lose all respect from the Panamanian people. Even his own men. Noriega would have to win this election with good old fashioned poll Reagan on Election Day in Nineteen eighty-four Anti Military. Protesters filled the grounds outside the legislative building. Where the final vote tallies were being displayed on a giant board. They suspected there'd be foul play and they were right by evening. It was clear. Barletta was going to lose Noriega told the vote counters to begin ratcheting up the numbers on the board in favor of Barletta. He made a call to his soldiers and ask them to assemble in front of the protesters in case they tried to cause a Ruckus if that didn't stop them. He gave his men permission to open fire. Which is exactly what they did in. They weren't just firing warning shots. The demonstrators scrambled for cover. One then two then. Ten people fell under the barrage of bullets. In total forty were injured and one person died. The soldiers remained in place all night. While Noriega as people tallied false votes on the display board the next morning Noriega's puppet President Barletta was declared. The victor the entire world turned a blind eye to the mass shooting. It seemed that there was no one in the world. Brave enough or powerful enough to take. Tony Noriega down except there was a beloved Panamanian doctor by the name of Hugo spot of for a guerrilla medic who had fought with rebel groups in three separate countries. Spot of fora was essentially a medical version of Rambo as content to carry a gun as he was to save a life and he despised Noriega. He had been an outspoken critic of the military dictatorship since nineteen seventy five and he was the first person to publicly call. Noriega a drug smuggler and arms dealer in nineteen eighty one spot of for a head even worked with the district attorney in Miami to draw up gun smuggling charges against Noriega but his attempts to seek justice fell on deaf ears. Spotter fora was chased out of Panama by death threats from Noriega's men meanwhile in the United States the C. I. A. D. E. A. N. State Department had hampered every attempt by the Miami district attorney to press charges against Noriega. They made it clear that if he wanted a prosperous career he would drop his attempts to convict the dictator by Nineteen eighty-five however Dr Spot. A four was determined to return to Panama. And Fight Noriega once and for all. He believed if he could make it across the border. He stood a fighting chance of convincing the Panamanian people to join his cause on September thirteenth. Nineteen eighty-five Dr Spotter for got on a bus and crossed into Panama. He had only just made it across the border when the bus was pulled over by the Panamanian Defense Forces formerly known as the National Guard. A soldier asked spot a fora to get off the bus. He held up his. Id told the other riders his name and said that he was being detained illegally. He went willingly with the soldier believing he'd be detained and released too soon enough. But that wasn't going to happen. Fourteen soldiers took the doctor away and began a tour of torture. That would last for several hours. The next morning Costa Rican police found Dr Spot afforest torso in a US. Postal bag abandoned in a ravine. The soldiers had peeled off his fingernails broken. His ribs repeatedly raped him and finally beheaded him while he was still alive. Noriega believed killing. Spotter for would save him hassle but within twenty four hours hundreds of witnesses who had seen spot a for his arrest came forward to give statements to journalists both domestic and international. Ah Panamanian newspaper published the names of all fourteen soldiers involved in the incident. The witnesses whose names were published were severely punished threatened or taken into police custody but it was too late to cover it all up. International human rights organizations began keeping track of the acts of terrorism Noriega committed against his own people. Opposition leaders were mowed down in hit and runs. Soldiers had carte blanche to kill any person suspected of being a guerilla fighter Noriega soldiers began branding carving and tattooing their unit identifier. F. Eight into the bodies of anyone. They tortured in September. Nineteen eighty-five Noriega flew to New York City for a general meeting with the CIA official while he was gone President Barletta opened an official investigation into Dr Spot for his death. He naively believed the investigation. Would prove that Noriega had not been involved in the murder ten days later on September. Twenty Fifth Nineteen eighty-five Noriega return to Panama. Barletta was immediately summoned to Noriega's office. Barletta was detained for fourteen hours. While Noriega and his men pressured him to resign are letter that his faith in the dictator had been misplaced. The CIA orchestrated a call with Noriega to show President Barletta that they weren't coming to his rescue. They couldn't jeopardize their Latin American connections. For the sake of one man's murder there was nothing left to do but for Barletta to resign. His resignation confirmed for the Panamanian people. That Noriega had in fact ordered spot a for US murder with the growing public. Discontent American support was the only thing protecting Noriega from being removed from power. He now had to submit entirely to Washington's whims blowing up Nicaraguan military bases and assassinating Nicaraguan resistance leaders. Whenever he was asked even worse. These offers were officially recorded by. Us intelligence agencies. Even though Noriega had been doing these things for years he was now leaving a paper trail the assistant secretary for Latin American affairs. Elliot Atoms started keeping public records of all known interactions between the US and Panama he encouraged US officials to push for Noriega to turn over power to the civilian government meanwhile Noriega's allies in the US began quietly telling him to soften his image and slow down his illegal activities until the storm against him had blown over the US intelligence agencies. Were trying to protect him but he had to play along Noriega balked. He's still believe he was untouchable when the. Us State Department warned him to destroy any documents he didn't want found. Noriega just laughed. He would regret it. A Motley crew of politicians and journalists were about to begin toppling. The domino's that would lead to Noriega's end up next will finish up our story with Noriega's downfall now back to the story by Nineteen eighty-six after only three years as dictator. Manuel Antonio Noriega crimes had reached monstrous proportions. His war crimes and violence against his own people were becoming more difficult for US intelligence agencies to overlook us. Senator Jesse Helms had been moved to discuss by Dr Hugo spot for his murder but he was hard pressed to find anyone who would support sanctions against the dictator. Who CAUSED IT? He asked Dr Spotter for his sister to write an appeal to the Senate and tracked down proof that the US had helped oust. Panamanian President Barletta Senator John Kerry joined the fight. Making it a bipartisan effort. That was only the beginning on June twelve nineteen eighty-six journalist Seymour. Hersh wrote a lengthy expose about Noriega's crimes and human rights violations. It ran on the front page of the New York Times. Where no one could ignore it. In retaliation Noriega seized an American ship. Traveling through the Panama Canal to assert his power over the US. Of course this only succeeded in proving the senators and journalists correct the CIA tried to bury the story. But Senator Helms kept pushing in nineteen eighty six. He wrote a clause into the intelligence appropriations bill requiring the CIA to compile a report on Noriega's human rights abuses senators Helms and carry finally had the support and evidence. They needed to investigate. Noriega Noriega ignored the growing pressure entirely on August. Twenty second nineteen eighty eight. He threw a massive party to celebrate his fifth anniversary as military dictator. Two thousand guests arrived to drink. Laugh and burn effigies of Helms carry and journalist Seymour. Hersh in front of Panama's legislative building rebel groups pointed at the Lavish Party as of his corruption. Noriega burn newspapers tortured and branded resistance leaders in clamped down on civil liberties but he couldn't entirely silence his critics. It went on like that. For nearly three years with Noriega's cruelty growing every day neither rebels nor the Americans could gather enough supporters and evidence to bring him down then on December fifteenth nineteen eighty. Nine Noriega finally tipped the balance. He declared himself maximum leader of Panama and suspended the Constitution entirely. This was one overreach too. Many within a few hours news came in that there would be a coup orchestrated not only by Noriega's own soldiers who had finally grown tired of his brutality but also by the Americans who had been deeply embarrassed by him in the face of the Senate Investigation Noriega has sent his most loyal soldiers out to defend his compound. They put up roadblocks aim their AK47's and searched any cars that came their way a little after nine pm the next night. Four American Marines made a fatal wrong. Turn down a street Noriega soldiers had blockaded unable to back out the marines could only sit and wait as the soldiers surrounded them screaming slurs and threats when the car ahead of them moved forward. The marine sped way down the street. Noriega's men to fire bullets pierced the car and struck one of the Marines in the back. The driver sped away. He had no idea where the nearest hospital was. Back at the roadblock a passing American couple accidentally wandered too close. They were duct taped and taken for interrogation. The soldiers repeatedly punched the husband in the Groin. Prying for information about the Marines who had sped away? They told him if he didn't talk they would take turns raping his wife when they realized a couple of didn't know anything. The soldier's release them but the damage had already been done. The couple immediately reported what had happened to. Us officials across the city. The wounded marine died from blood loss. Only minutes after reaching a hospital a few days later these two incidents would trigger the largest. Us invasion since the Vietnam War on December Eighteenth nineteen eighty nine three days after declaring himself. Maximum leader Noriega heard from his last remaining allies in. Us intelligence that something big was coming. Noriega was on borrowed time the next day Soviet spies watching us. Military bases warned Noriega that the Americans were on the move. Noriega fled his compound to hide out with the few friends he had left it. Powerful leader was reduced to shuffling from house to house in the back of a beaten up car. He had to crawl across the floor on his belly. Out of sight of the windows his bodyguards were now dictating where he could go whether he could stand and whether he could use the phone. Two days later on December twentieth nineteen eighty nine two planes with precision firepower flew. Low over Noriega is now vacant compound and obliterated it two dozen. American soldiers were sent to secure the location even though it was already rubble. The fight continued in the streets. Noriega soldiers threw Molotov cocktails and grenades at US tanks as they rolled down the street of the twenty four American soldiers on the ground. Twenty one were injured but the US was just getting started. When the men fought near the compound to separate parachute assaults took control of military checkpoints throughout the area cutting off any reinforcements that might try to retake the capital transport planes air force fighters paratroopers and attack helicopters. Rained down from the sky. Over twenty seven thousand troops touchdown in Panama. In a matter of a few days it was clear the Panamanians were outnumbered. Most of Noriega soldiers simply gave up many fled before. Us troops had even arrived. Meanwhile Noriega was slithering across the floors of safehouses powerless. To defend himself. He knew his time was up. His wants absolute power was gone in a final desperate attempt to avoid punishment he turned to the Vatican for clemency and protection. From the United States Noriega managed to flee to Vatican City where the embassy agreed to shelter him for a time. He spent his Christmas safe within their walls but the US soon found out where he was. They surrounded the Vatican embassy blasting heavy metal music from their loudspeakers to move things along the embassy. Eventually Turn Noriega over on January third. Nineteen ninety when all was said and done. The invasion of Panama Cost twenty-six American lives and over three hundred Panamanian lives though some sources claim there. Were as many as seven thousand. Civilian Casualties Noriega faced charges in the US France and Panama for various crimes including drug and gun trafficking and human rights violations. He spent the rest of his life shuffling between prisons in all three countries before dying during brain surgery on May twenty ninth. Two thousand seventeen at the age of eighty three. The US invasion of Panama ended a reign of terror by a small man who governed with torture. But it's important to remember. This story isn't about a benevolent world. Power Saving Panama from a bloodthirsty tyrant. It's about a tyrant who outgrew his usefulness to the World Power. He'd been answering to along for better or worse. The success of the invasion also encouraged the US to continue its policy of invading and toppling foreign governments when they became hostile to US interests. It also succeeded. In finally dismantling the Panamanian military dictatorship on February thirteenth nineteen ninety the Panamanian Defense Forces were decommissioned. The country's new police force would be unarmed and control of the country would rest with the civilian government. Tony Noriega's rule had been one of incredible highs and lows but in the end. His allegiance to power and money over his own. People led to his undoing. He was reduced to a lonely and powerless. Man Forced to watch his glory fade as he fell into obscurity. Thanks again for listening to kingpins. You can find kingpins as well as all of our casts other podcasts on Apple podcasts spotify stitcher. Google play cast box for your favorite podcast directory. Many of you have asked how to help the show. And if you enjoyed this the best way to help is to leave a five star review. We'll see you next time. Kingpins was created by Max Cutler and is a production of cutler media and is part of the podcast network it is produced by Max and Ron Cutler sound designed by Michael Lang's ner with production assistance by Ron Shapiro and Paul Moller Additional Production Assistance by Maggie admire and Carly Madden. Kingpins is written by Jordan. Tr- appear and stars Kate Leonard. And how will it remember if you enjoy these episodes in? WanNa hear more. Tales of history's most powerful criminals. 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