Panama has detained a North Korean-flagged ship coming from Cuba as it approached the Panama Canal with undeclared weapons, President Ricardo Martinelli said.
The weapons, hidden in containers of brown sugar, were detected after Panamanian authorities stopped the ship, suspecting it was carrying drugs. The vessel was pulled over near the port of Manzanillo on the Atlantic side of the canal.
"We're going to keep unloading the ship and figure out exactly what was inside," Martinelli told Panamanian television late on Monday, without giving further details.
"You cannot go around shipping undeclared weapons of war through the Panama Canal."
Martinelli said the captain of the vessel tried to commit suicide after the ship was stopped. Panamanian authorities have detained some 35 crew members.