Thursday, December 19, 2019

Europe's First Narcosub: 26 days crossing America to Europe in a narco submarine

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat TY Mica from El Pais

On November 24 of the first narcosub marine arrived in Europe from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean --- A mission that was almost suicidal---when they were discovered they  had only a few chocolates remaining...

Click on any image to enlarge
Agustín Álvarez took a plane in Madrid to Brazil on October 25.

At 29, the different navigation titles he had assumed - 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 from 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.

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 assumed - 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 upon 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, with the idea 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 prominent groups 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.

As reported in prison by the crew - in a sea wave, they also lost the bag with food and water that the boat had sealed and attached to the hull.

In the end, in desperation, after a first failed attempt to approach the coast in Porto (Portugal), they attempted to escape by swimming with wetsuits off the beach of Hío, a part of Aldán (Cangas de Morrazo).

The large police group 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: "Quiet, shy and distrustful." They were also interested in knowing when summer came to Galicia because it did not stop raining.

In his escape, Agustín Álvarez remained hidden in a shed for the four days following the arrest of his two Ecuadorian cronies.

"Augustine asked his cousin for help, and he, in turn, called his father and Hermida to go to the the coast where he remained hiding ," according to the investigators that analyzed the calls on his phone. 

After helping him, Serantes fled to Valencia, where he was arrested at the airport. The huge police deployment in the estuary then intercepted the uncle and the friend.  

Finally, Alvarez was arrested, who tried to impersonate a fisherman. The agents pretended to believe him, allowing him to pass and followed him until he was subsequently arrested.

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 determined 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 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 narcosub marine arrived in Europe from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean has confirmed previous  suspicions that, and for  more than a decade, had become a legend.

 Information about the arrival of a submerged narcosub loaded with  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 capos
The great drug lords of Galicia lament these days for the media focus that the narcosub marine has put on the Galician coast. It is a select group of narcos (you can count them 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 entire life.

Gone forever is the ostentation and cockiness  of the Oubiña,  Charlines and others. 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. Entering in silence and to that silence 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 uproar that they detest. These top narcos have specialized in large hulls of 4,000 or 5,000 kilos of cocaine. 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 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.
Everyone is nervous now on the Galician coast. There are rumors, sneaks, suspicions ... Everyone talks again about the Galician narco. It’s just what they don't want. Just what Galicia needs to continue fighting against, one of its worst scourges.

18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Good job. Thanks for all your work.

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    2. WELL as a side note the ARGENTINES and other south American countries claim no Nazi subs could ever make it, if these pos could, then it had to be true

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  2. Congrats Chivis / BB!
    Regarding the article:

    *Narcos are using too much of their own product.

    With all the advanced detection equipment underwater, air and space, did Narcos really think the low radar signature boat, would actually make it unnoticed in the 21 Century, to a NATO County?

    Queso

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    Replies
    1. They have before. This is not the first one to hit Europe just the first caught.

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  3. WooHoooooo ! Praise BB contributors, one and all ! jajajaja......
    Plus Thank you / gracias you commenters you who add to the stew.

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    Replies
    1. Sol, you and myself with the bench crew, Armadillo, El Profe etc we will make 1800 i think...next year 2000? well if we get another regular we can.....

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    2. The way things are going in Mexico, and with additional resources, I won’t be surprised if you achieve 2,500.

      Queso

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  4. Now, for my real comment: WHOA !
    this is some post , Chivis, thank you.
    Right outta La Reina del Sur, not the sub , obviously.
    Super interesting and the graphics add alot.

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    Replies
    1. I was looking for something like this ever since I posted the story of the fist euro narco sub, because I couldn't believe one of those made it to europe.

      The graphics were a pain, thank you and tell Super Mike gracias he sent me an email.....

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  5. Lost food and agua that was connected to the hull? Lol thats right the merchandise was more valuable thanfood and water.

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  6. If the cartels were not functionally mental, we would be in big trouble.
    Any such schemes will get detected by the SOSUS network which was built to detect far more sophisticated submarines than anything the narcos could build.
    Finally, this entire process could be automated.
    Without thinking too much about it, I can come up with four better ideas with a far higher chance of success and I’m not a narco.

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    Replies
    1. Guess what they make a living doing this. These guys try every angle you could ever imagine and hit them hard. This is just one method that is known of..

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  7. Now of course it is the fault of Europe. Not poor Mexico!

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    1. 7:18 well, if some hijo de la gran perra has some imagination...
      Then all the cocaine flows "from Mexico" to the world.
      This narco sub could have been towed all the way too, straight from Los Pinos

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  8. Only a man would take that risky and foolish journey, without enough chocolate.

    ReplyDelete

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