After the discovery of the semi-submersible drug laden, the National Police expands the investigation to organizations with ramifications in Madrid and Colombia
Agustín Álvarez took a plane in Madrid to Brazil on October 25. At 29, the different navigation titles he had taken out - the last one, as a yacht owner - in his hometown, Vigo (Pontevedra), were going to serve him to undertake the most risky mission of his life: crossing America to Europe in a semi-submersible 20 meters in length with 3,000 kilos of cocaine on board. An accelerated navigation course on a river, two Ecuadorian citizens with seafaring experience as cruise companions, 20,000 liters of fuel, a payment of 100,000 dollars (about 89,700 euros) in advance and a destination at 9,000 kilometers: 3,000 kilometers of river route more 6,000 along the Atlantic to Galicia.
"They sailed down the river from some remote place in the area of Leticia," capital of the department of Amazonas and southern tip of Colombia, say sources from the National Police, which continues with the investigation beyond the Galician borders: "It has expanded to Madrid and Colombia. " “The bad sea on reaching the Spanish coast and engine failures, in addition to the fact that no one went out to collect the merchandise, led them to sink the ship on the beach of Hío (Pontevedra) and try to escape, but their idea it was to return to recover the drug later ”, sources of the investigation of the so-called Operation Baluma report, directed by the head of the Court of Instruction 1 of Cangas de Morrazo, Sonia Platas.
These same sources point to the current great clans of the Galician narco, "El Burro or El Pastelero" as the main suspects. Álvarez was a key piece in this almost suicidal mission, as can be deduced from the testimonies that the crew members have been telling cellmates and prison officials, since they refused to testify before the police. There were engine failures ("new and 2,000 horsepower," according to research sources), ventilation problems on the ship and even loss of food and water they carried. "They only had a few chocolates with a Brazilian label when they arrived," said research sources. "Before trying to flee, they got rid of the satellite phone and the electronic equipment they were carrying, which have not been found," they add.
It was 26 days in a small cabin that could be submerged up to two meters deep to avoid the radars of the Navy ships and sleeping in cots on 152 drug bundles. They had good weather almost until they reached Spain, as they narrated, but on the tenth day the first mechanical problem arose. The two tubes that leave the stern, which serve to inject air into the engine, broke down. According to his stories, the air of the submarine became irrespirable. Unable to fix it, even though one of the Ecuadorians was a mechanic, they were forced to open the hatch a few hours each day to ventilate the ship until it reached land. Before - and always as reported in prison by the crew - in a sea stroke, they also lost the bag with food and water that the boat had sealed and attached to the hull. And finally,
In the end, in desperation, after a first failed attempt to approach the coast in Porto (Portugal), and after several days receiving different coordinates of the organization to deliver the merchandise without anyone appearing, the attempt to escape swam with Wetsuits on the beach of Hío, belonging to Aldán (Cangas de Morrazo). The large police device deployed in the area, following an alert from the DEA ( Drug Enforcement Administration , the Drug Enforcement Administration , an agency under the US Department of Justice), ruined the aspirations of the crew.
The first thing Pedro Roberto Delgado (Ecuador, 1975) and Luis Tomás Benítez (Ecuador, 1977) asked for when he entered prison was to shave. Penitentiary sources describe them: "Shut up, shy and distrustful." They were also interested in knowing when summer came to Galicia because it did not stop raining.
In his particular escape, Agustín Álvarez remained hidden in a shed for the four days following the arrest of his two Ecuadorian cronies. Before, he threw away the mobile phone and facilitated the arrest of three other people: his cousin Iago Serantes (Vigo, 1991), his uncle Enrique Serantes (Vigo, 1965) and a friend, Rodrigo Hermida (Santiago de Compostela, 1993). "Augustine asked his cousin for help, and he, in turn, called his father and Hermida to go to the place of the coast where he remained crouched," say sources of research that analyzed the calls on his phone . After helping him, Serantes fled to Valencia, where he was arrested at the airport. The huge police device deployed in the estuary then intercepted the uncle and the friend, who wore dry clothes in backpacks. Finally, Alvarez fell, who tried to impersonate a stealthy shellfish man. The agents pretended to believe him, let him pass and followed him until he was subsequently arrested.
However, the same sources warn that the absence of pending accounts with justice does not imply that he was not involved in the drug trafficking business: “If you have been searched and sent to Brazil a month before the merchandise is shipped, it is because It was already moving in the circuits, ”they say. Álvarez, according to the same sources, is not known any trade. "A sportsman, fond of the sea and also had a pilot's title," they add.
However, according to his own account, Agustín was not the first option of the drug trafficking organization that hired him. Before they offered it to another Galician sailor, who finally got off the hook because he considered that the boat did not meet the appropriate conditions.
“Built expressly for this purpose in some clandestine shipyard in the jungles of Suriname or Guyana,” according to the researchers, the practices with the semi-submersible crew members made them along the Amazon River, on its way to the mouth of the sea. "The hull, similar to that of a sailboat, presented damage at the bow mooring point," leading to suspicion of the researchers who were towed during some sections of that river path. The police are convinced that the submarine made the entire sea voyage at once, without being refueled or towed at sea. This is also deduced from the testimony of detained crew members. However, other sources point to the possibility that he was helped by other ships.
The discovery on November 24 of the first narcosubmarine arrived in Europe from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean has confirmed some suspicions that, for more than a decade, had become a legend. Information about the arrival of a submerged pregnant Colombian cocaine arrived at the Intelligence Center against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO) through the Maritime Analysis Center (MAOC), based in Lisbon and by the British authorities, so A comprehensive joint operation of the National Police, Civil Guard and Customs Surveillance was designed. The investigation continues.
A BUSINESS OF STEALTHY AND DISCREET BONNETS
The great drug lords of Galicia lament these days for the media focus that the narcosubmarine has put on the Galician coast. It is a select group of narcos (you can count on the fingers of one hand and there are still fingers left over) that are unknown, have no history of drug trafficking and some of them have not even paraded through a court in their life. And so they want it to remain. It was behind and forever the ostentation and chulería of the Oubiña, Charlines and others. Or the myth of Sito Miñanco. Today, the main drug lords in Galicia live in stealth.
Anonymity has made them more effective. A large amount of cocaine continues to enter the Galician coast today. He no longer does it between bats, chases and shots. Enter in silence And to that silence it contributes that the media attention is in the Strait of Gibraltar. The drug traffickers in Galicia live with less stress as well and have a higher success rate in their operations than ever. That is why the capture of the submarine supposes a noise that they detest.
These large narcos have specialized in large stores, downloads of 4,000 or 5,000 kilos of cocaine and few operations. Some perform only one a year. They reinvest the money in their vast legal business networks and try to go through respectable entrepreneurs.
The security forces, however, have them well controlled. It is difficult to take them in front of a judge, since they never come in contact with the merchandise. But they watch them waiting for a slip. In Galicia, the ECO and the UCO of the Civil Guard, the GRECO and UDYCO of the National Police, the SVA, the US DEA and the British intelligence services are deployed. Nobody is missing.
The codes of silence have also changed: the narcos of today do not have the power or the unpunished purchase of wills of yesteryear.
A veteran narco from the Vigo estuary has such a dislike of the mobile phone that he doesn't even allow anyone to speak in front of him. Stealth borders the paranoia in which some Galician narcos live installed. That the issue of narcosubmarine has jumped is like shouting in a library. Everyone is nervous now on the Galician coast. There are rumors, sneaks, suspicions ... Everyone talks again about the Galician narco. Just what they don't want. Just what Galicia needs to continue fighting against one of its worst scourges
Thanks for sharing Mica.That was enlightening on the 'how's' of that voyage.Surprising that it 'sailed' down 3,000 kms. of the Amazon before going to sea!Must be to lower suspicion as maybe that part of the Pacific is monitored.Just wondering what a fisherman or ferry service people think spotting 1 of those in their river as it's not all that remote in some places but guess it's clear 'sailing' once they hit the Atlantic.Had to laugh at how the article referred to 'the pregnant ship'.Good analogy!
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