Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a significant health problem in Panama. The extent to which such cases are the result of primary or acquired resistance and the strain families involved are unknown. We performed whole-genome sequencing of a collection of 66 clinical MDR isolates, along with 31 drug-susceptible isolates, that were isolated in Panama between 2001 and 2010; 78% of the MDR isolates belong to the Latin American-Mediterranean (LAM) family. Drug resistance mutations correlated well with drug susceptibility profiles. To determine the relationships among these strains and to better understand the acquisition of resistance mutations, a phylogenetic tree was constructed based on a genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism analysis. The phylogenetic tree shows that the isolates are highly clustered, with a single strain (LAM9-c1) accounting for nearly one-half of the MDR isolates (29/66 isolates). The LAM9-c1 strain was most prevalent among male patients of working age and was associated with high mortality rates. Members of this cluster all share identical mutations conferring resistance to isoniazid (KatG S315T mutation), rifampin (RpoB S531L mutation), and streptomycin (rrs C517T mutation). This evidence of primary resistance supports a model in which MDR-TB in Panama is driven by clonal expansion and ongoing transmission of several strains in the LAM family, including the highly successful MDR strain LAM9-c1. The phylogenetic analysis also shows that the LAM9-c1 strain is closely related to the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) extensively drug-resistant TB strain identified in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The LAM9-c1 and KZN strains likely arose from a recent common ancestor that was transmitted between Panama and South Africa and had the capacity to tolerate an accumulation of multiple resistance mutations.