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Evelyn Kendall

Robbery via scopolamine/Devil's Breath in David

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A Panamanian friend who lives in Boquete was drugged and robbed in David on Friday.  Some years back there were reports of robberies in Chiriqui by people using a white powder (scopolamine) to drug victims. Although this sounds like an urban legend, it unfortunately is not. The effects are the same, and experienced by my friend.  The victim is handed something with the powder on it, or it is blown in the face or put in a drink.  It is not difficult to inflict a person with this drug.  The victim experiences a total loss of memory for the time the drug is in effect.  But he is lucid and functioning.  My friend was taken to an ATM where he willingly withdrew money.  They  left him who knows where and  took his car and all the groceries he had just bought at Price Mart.  He was found by the police 2 days later wandering in David.  He was completely disoriented, had no memory of anything, and had clearly been roughed up.  The police later found his car (stripped of anything of value) in San Pablo.  The last place he can remember is being in Price Mart.  Clearly it was after shopping there.

This drug comes from the very common variety of datura that grows in Boquete.  The angel trumpet flower can be seen almost everywhere here.  The tall shrub produces those lovely pink or white trumpet shaped flowers.  The problem of scopolamine robbery (and worse) has been a scourge in Colombia for many years, but aside from a few cases (made public) it has not been in much use here up to now.   PLEASE be aware of this method of victimization and be vigilant.  Here is one link to information about it; there are many more (Borrachero tree, Devil's Breath) on the internet.  https://www.biopsychiatry.com/scopolamine/borrachero.html

 

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