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Police on Costa Tropical call for more resources as ‘narco-boat’ gets away
Crime

Police on Costa Tropical call for more resources as ‘narco-boat’ gets away

Almuñécar’s Guardia Civil maritime service is also demanding tougher penalties for drug traffickers and fuel-supply boat crews

Pilar García-Trevijano

Granada

Tuesday, 5 March 2024, 16:29

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The maritime service of the Guardia Civil in Almuñécar on Granada province’s Costa Tropical intercepted a boat allegedly trafficking drugs as it sailed close to the shore due to strong winds last week.

It was officers on board a Guardia Civil patrol that detected the ‘narco-boat’ off Almuñécar and headed towards it, but with the swell and the vessel's speed, it was impossible to reach it and the boat changed direction and headed south. Other officers tried to locate it from land in a patrol car, but lost track of it.

Banned

The type of vessel being used in the operation was approximately 14 metres in length that can hold up to four 300-horsepower engines. It has been banned since 2018. However, it is becoming increasingly common to find them loitering off the coast of Granada. In recent months they have been spotted on the border between Granada and Almeria provinces once or twice a week carrying migrants.

'Petrol stations'

Some of the boats are used by the mafias as ‘petrol stations’ at sea to supply the drug traffickers in the area with fuel. Gangs carry containers of petrol in small boats to where they are anchored several miles off the coast.

David Martín, secretary of the Asociación Unificada de Guardias Civiles (AUGC), has called for more material resources for the Guardia Civil’s maritime service as their patrol boats do not reach the speed of the boats used by the traffickers. He has also called for the return of 24-hour shifts, as 12-hour shifts "are insufficient" to carry out the job properly and has argued that maritime surveillance takes time. Martín has also called for stiffer penalties for the fuel-supply boat crews.

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