Monday, 12 February 2024
The promenade of Barbate in Andalucía's Cadiz province on Sunday morning was like an extension of the Playa del Carmen beach. The sand had been overturned and reached the road, giving an insight into the magnitude of the strength of Saturday night's storm.
It was in those conditions - with waves several metres high, rough seas and barely any visibility - that six drug traffickers left the mouth of the harbour in a mad dash to avoid being caught by police and being sent to prison. "It's like throwing yourself headlong into a hurricane in order to escape," an officer said.
On Friday night 9 February two Guardia Civil officers were killed when their inflatable patrol boat was rammed by a powerful 'narco-launch' drug-trafficking boat.
In videos shared on social media, the police issued several warnings to the drug traffickers who had anchored at Barbate to take shelter from the storm, even firing into the air. They crossed their boat in its path but the drug traffickers did not change course and rammed into the patrol vessel.
Miguel Ángel, 39, and David, 43, died as a result of the impact. Their two colleagues were seriously injured. One of them has a broken arm, with the possibility he could lose it.
The narco-boat immediately became a priority target for Guardia Civil in Cadiz who joined the mission to search for it. The vessel was located on radar heading eastwards along the coastline. The gang made landfall in Sotogrande where some of the crew left the drug-trafficking vessel, but police were waiting for them. They arrested three of the boat's crew and two other men who were waiting at the scene to pick them up in a vehicle.
The narco-boat sailed on along the coast, with three people still onboard, and it was still being tracked on radar. If it headed directly into the storm it would've surely meant death. Faced with the risk of running out of fuel and at the mercy of the waves, the drug-running gang took a gamble near La Alcaidesa in La Línea de la Concepción, where they ran the boat aground to try to flee on foot but the three fugitives were arrested by Guardia Civil officers who were waiting for them.
Sources close to the case confirmed the eight arrested were originally from Campo de Gibraltar and not from Barbate.
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