Former gringo cop starts militia on Panama’s Pacific coast

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donwinnerfriesnerboatUpdated below - Just days after we reported here about the mega-crime wave that currently haunts the Pacific coast between Chame and Playa Blanca, the wackiest elements of the so-called English speaking expatriate community are joining forces to do something about it. And what do gringos do when confronted with colored people stealing their lawnmowers? Right. They form an armed militia!

At this very moment, a meeting is about to begin at La Ruina, in Gorgona, we understood from an email from former Washington DC cop-turned-online-pharmacist Jim Rizik:

I have confirmed a meeting on February 20, 2013 Wednesday at 10 am at La Ruina in Gorgona. Don Winner will be in attendance and I hope to confirm members of the DIJ, police department, and other VIP's. La Ruina will not be serving food but you will be able to buy beer, soda, water. Members of the press are being invited as I am about ready to do a press release. This meeting is for everyone from Punta Chame to Rio hato.

One thing that has been on my mind. I have been hearing people discussing forming a "vigilante group" to take care of the situation. I hope this is just "beer talk" and nothing more. This is a BAD idea.

Jim Rizik
PO Box 1011-00147
Chame, Panama
Republic of Panama
Panama Tel: (507) 6590-3308
Toll free from USA: (301) 494-4139
R & R Natural Products
Promo code: 83541
featuring: Real Time Pain Relief, Magnesium Oil and other great products.
Web page:

Now here's why this doesn't make sense. The press release talks about the "Nuevo Gorgona Vecinos Vigilantes". Then Rizik says that forming a vigilante group is a "BAD idea". Then at the same time he teams up with a gun-toting and violent madman like Don Winner - a person even the FBI at the US embassy says people should stay away from. Don Winner, of course, is one of the driving forces behind a crime spree of foreign hustlers and criminals who have fleeced foreigners in Panama for a hell of a lot more money than any petty thieves in Chame ever could.

To boot: Winner was instrumental in pumping the scams of one Mary Sloane and her accomplices, and vilifying the people who actually sued her to get their money back (they won, by the way). He is in a business alliance with Marco Shrem, the former gun-runner for the cocaine-financed Colombian AUC death squads. Shrem took a lot of people's money on deposits on a development and then claimed that someone else stole it, a story that has more holes in it than a Swiss cheese. Winner runs pump and dump schemes with PTQ stock. He's been promoting the frauds of former patriot militia man - yes, you read that right - Mark Boswell a/k/a "Rex Freeman", even hiring the guy as his financial columnist. Boswell having fled the country, he then started pimping Monte Friesner's credit card scams. And we're only at the very tip of the iceberg here.

Don Winner won't do anything about a crime wave; he IS the crime wave.

Put bluntly, if these ignoramuses wanted to tank the value of their properties and keep tourists away, inviting Don Winner to join the crime wave would be an excellent idea.

On online message boards, some of these gringos are already drooling at the idea of running around with guns, killing people:

Gringos are known to be unarmed, uniformed and easy targets. If one person had a gun they could have laid some Pana scum down!! The police are not interested in helping solve or prevent crimes here especially if it is a gringo victim. Arm yourself you are now on the pana menu to be eaten if you are in Panama!!!

Nothing good will obviously come from this meeting in Gorgona by a bunch of gringos who are, true to form, going to "do something about it" by laying "Pana scum down". Worst case scenario is that we get similar situations as with that other ex-cop, Ron McGrew, a racist with anger management issues who murdered someone he thought to be a burglar in a neighbor's house. Good luck patrolling the neighborhood, guys!

Assembled victims

Update - And we have a winner: This version of the meeting on Playa Community. Nothing about the Don Winner crime spree. Instead, an eager question, "can we kill? can we kill? Please?"

A question was asked with regards to the use of a gun for the sake of defense: The use of a licensed gun in the defense of your life is not against the law. However all shooting deaths are investigated.

A great time was had by all.

Update 2 - La Prensa covers the event as well, here, saying that the police claims that many of these burglaries can be blamed on residents leaving doors and windows open and trusting employees with keys and even the combinations of their safe.

And you thought you were safe because you bought into a gated community? Hahaha! The police says that they don't have access to places like Decameron, Playa Blanca and Buena Ventura. These only allow access to the police in case of a violent crime.

Update 3 - To get an idea of the kind of gringos we're dealing with here and their staggering ignorance, you should read this comment on the Panama Forum website - by some snotty gringo who I'll bet you doesn't even speak Spanish - which includes this gem:

"So, we had a military base here for many years and we built and controlled the Canal. In light of the fact that this canal is a major source of revenue for this government, do you not think it was worth it? Aside from these two issues, what have gringos done to Panamá? Other than to complain about the inefficiencies here, how has the gringo affected you personally? This is a serious question; please enlighten me."

Well, how about a military invasion that killed thousands, just to catch one guy who was entirely your own creation? Would that be enlightening enough for you?

Update 4 (Feb. 22) - T he beach gringos can't get enough of Don Winner. Next Wednesday, February 27, they have yet another event for plastic expat people where this walking crime wave can pimp Ponzi schemes and real estate scams talk forever about how great he is:

We have a last minute confirmation that Don Winner of will speak at the Playacommunity Mixer at 11am. Don has lived in Panama for 20+ years, is knowledgeable about Panama’s crime reporting process and criminal system. He has been responsible for bringing a number of criminals to justice in Panama. Most of all, he understands Panama’s culture and is one heck of an interesting character.

So here's the expat gringo attitude towards crime: Done by colored Panamanians it's really, really bad. Done by a lunatic right-wing white gringo it's great, and makes the perpetrator an "interesting character".

Update 5 - As was to be expected, Don Winner once again takes his cues from fraud artist Monte Friesner (one of his clients), with some old and inaccurate news about the "conviction" of yours truly which is in reality being appealed. Don Winner hits back - with a Q-tip.

19 thoughts on “Former gringo cop starts militia on Panama’s Pacific coast

  1. Will they carry out their armed vigilante patrols in plus sized Hawaiian shirts, shooting at rustling in he bushes? Can somebody explain to these gringos that just because we have warm tropical weather here it doesn’t mean they’re living in Hawaii.

  2. This article is so inaccurate as to be incredible. I was at that meeting, and the majority of it was the local constabulary explaining the investigative and prosecutorial process here in Panama. The organization is “Vecinos Vigilantes” yes, but that is merely Spanish for “Neighborhood Watch”. It refers to keeping an eye out for your friends & neighbors, not “toting guns” or being a “militia”. Even the photo is incorrect “assembled victims”? Bullsh*t, it is a group of people concerned over their safety. I know everyone in that photo, and there is not a crime victim there. I think that whoever the author of this is, he should keep his emnity of Don Winner off the public forum, and at least TRY to get his/her facts straight.

    • This site is not a “public forum” and I will put on it whatever I want. If people were really concerned about their safety and their belongings, they wouldn’t invite someone who promotes crime for a living. It’s hard to take your “concerned about their safety” seriously if you’re at the same time working with someone who is in bed with terrorist arms traffickers.

      As for the accuracy of facts; I wasn’t there – thank god – and thus I linked to a story on the Playa Community website by someone who apparently was, and to the article in La Prensa that appeared this morning. I also linked to posts on a forum site about “laying pana scum down”, calling people to arm themselves, and it’s really not the first time that American expats turn into gun waving madmen. Plenty examples on my website. Maybe you remember the US embassy warden, a notorious drunk, who wanted to shoot protesting Ngobe people. Oh, and take your gringo snottiness somewhere else, please.

  3. I do SO remember when, many eons ago, some visiting gringos managed to get a gun by customs and were on a drinking binge while “hunting for ocelots” (I swear to God this is a true story). One of the monstrous ocelots attacked them and they shot and killed it. For those of you who know whose massive cattle ranch was just west of Rio Hato, you will know how this story is going to turn out. It seems that our intrepid hunters had killed Sr. A’s prized bull, who was worth many thousands of Dollars, even 50 years ago. Needless to say, Sr. A was not amused as he did not have a back-up bull and since this was before artificial insemination became a standard practice, his cows began drying up and failing to produce new stock so no milk. No one could figure out how someone could mistake a cat that runs 50 lbs tops was mistaken for a 2000 lb bull. But there you have it. And there you have some gringos who spent some extended vacation in el carcel modelo because, so the flimsy reason was, no one wanted them fleeing the country until the trial on what was actually civil damages but had included some flimsy criminal charge like recklessly endangering the public. After a trial and a VERY large fine with restitution to Sr. A, our intrepid ocelot hunters headed back to the EE.UU. with much lighter wallets and the new knowledge that you best be careful whose bull you gore, because there is no 2nd Amendment in Panama and the Guardia Nacional now the PN just love it when arrogant gringos think they can shoot “panascum” and walk away from it.

    I do hope that our new intrepid vigilantes get a very good criminal defense lawyer to follow them around and pay him/her very well by the hour to let them know when it’s OK to use their itch trigger finger. If Panamá’s prisons haven’t improved since I was there, they may wish they had paid that lawyer to follow them around. Especially if some populist Presidente decides to re-open Coiba.

  4. What is it about their psyche that makes Americans so fearful? They are worried about terrorists, flu, salmonella, meteors, communists, gay marriage, atheists, petty thieves, panascum, socialism, Frenchmen, civilized medical care, liberals, intellectuals, words of more than two syllables etc etc..

    They fu*k over the entire world more than anyone else put together, yet they are always the ones that feel victimized.

    Listening to Fox News or CNN one would think that terrorism had never existed before 9/11. Most of the world had suffered years of terrorism, much of it promoted by the US, before 9/11.

    But the Gringos still cry about their special form of suffering. For God sake, more people are killed in car accidents in the US in one year than all the Americans ever killed by terrorists.

    Now here we go again, frightened kids chasing the bogeyman with their guns. Sane people just accept that petty crime is a way of life in counties where there is a huge disparity of wealth. But not the Gringos, they still think they are the cowboys of the old west, albeit with huge bellies and sunburnt faces, exterminating the local population.

    I hope some of these nutters end up in LaJoya where some Panamanian cowboy will be riding them.

    • Fear is one those emotions that can be easily exploited for profit because in consumers it evokes irrational behavior. Hence consumers will start buying stuff as “defense” while producers are enjoying a sales bonanza. Profit is the number one US occupation, and over dead bodies when that offers more of it. Terrorism existed long before the (highly profitable) 911 event, and (of course) the major exporter (also to Latin America) was the USA.

      Such a profit-over-dead-bodies policy even has adversaries in the US and the law has been changed there in order to kill them per drone, on presidential orders. Slaves in ancient Rome enjoyed greater freedom than today’s US blue collar worker (has been documented long ago at the dept of archeology of the Utrecht (Netherlands) university).

      Without corporate-owned media with profit as first priority, bogus wars like those on drugs (after US occupation of Afghanistan it became the world’s number one heroin exporter) and terror would have been impossible. So the gringos who only watch corporate-owned media are full of fear and act as instructed by movies and lobbies like NRA.

      It would be better if such instable persons would be prevented from entering, via a personality test or something equivalent at immigration.

      • @JanB

        You´re right. Just follow the money.

        Fear=sales and wars=corporate profits.

        Or fear=distraction=confused populace=less political accountability.

        The politicians and big business are happy. Life is good.

        • @ Faustino

          The large difference in wealth between some some gringos and Panamanians is emphasized by a big fence around a mansion and gated communities. It’s like a public challenge to criminals that organizing and buying some equipment might be worth the investment.

          The politicians and corporations won’t be happy for long though. The era of cheap energy is definitely over and because the price of energy is in everything needed for a living, the cost is going up while salaries and pensions remain the same or are cut. So it’s inevitable that the truth will surface: the US as the number one waster of resources (wars for profit, the cult of planned obsolescence and throw away goods) and also the originator of the global obesity and diabetes epidemic (via processed (junk) food).

          The only corporations still happy are those related to pharmaceuticals as thanks to climate change (greatest contributor, USA), disease vectors are spreading.

  5. “ditto the well said, the good news most don’t last more than two to three years then they go back or to some other “cheaper” place where they repeat their stupidity once again.

  6. Why so so much arguing, blaming , finger pointing, nationalism. Ever single one of you has Zero to say that has any meaning. (Though I have to acknowledge that Don Winner is a major wiener…Dick would be more accurate).
    What is a fact is that ignorant gringos, who by the way are mostly Canadian, so lets not rag about Americans thrashing Panama. Back to my point. These gringos simply need to wake up and realize that it is as simple as following protocol.,.just like all citizens already do. Protect yourself. Bars on windows, big black dogs, don’t leave your door open when napping. whach what is going on when you drive up to your home, fences with barbed wire, if you are loaded (rich), hire a guard if you are gonna drive a $80k car. All intelligent Panamenos that has money, also have a guard at home. The list goes on. Follow it. You live in a country with different ways to handle things. As they always say, “when in Rome”.
    P.S. dont buy a gun, because youll be making yourself an even bigger target. Start practicing common sense. Thank you to whoever the editor is.

  7. Jon, brought out some points missed or forgotten and well worth mentioning at least in my part of the interior.

    No origins bashing intended; the majority that the locals called Gringos here are Canadian or European this is because the lighter skin, blue, green eyes, dress and lack of will to learn Spanish.

    Their sense of mixing within the community is the hardware store or market otherwise they stick to their “clicks” back stabbing mostly themselves.

    Some last weeks most a couple years but always replaced with more of the same that have come to show us how it is and should be done.

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