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Detained North Korean ship leaves Panama

Saturday - 2/15/2014, 10:02pm  ET

North Korean sailors look out from the deck of their cargo ship Chong Chon Gang in Sherman Bay near Colon City, Panama, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. Panama Canal officials say the North Korean ship seized as it was smuggling weapons is free to leave because the owner has paid a fine. Three of the vessel's operators still face charges, while 32 crew members are free to return to North Korea. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

PANAMA CITY (AP) -- A North Korean ship that was detained in July carrying undeclared arms after leaving Cuba has left Panama City and is headed back to the Caribbean island.

Panama's Foreign Ministry said the ship left Saturday morning with 32 of its original 35 crew members on board. The ship's captain and another two of the crew remain in Panama and will be prosecuted for arms trafficking.

The ship was detained while preparing to cross the Panama Canal to the Pacific. Authorities found missile parts, radar system components and other weapon pieces hidden amid bags of sugar. Those parts and the sugar remain under Panamanian control.

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