The Guardia Civil will use underwater drones to detect 'narco-divers' in ten Spanish ports. Jesús Signes
Guardia Civil deploys underwater drones to detect drugs in ports around Spain

Guardia Civil deploys underwater drones to detect drugs in ports around Spain

Police officers will increase inspections on the hulls of vessels to look for cocaine stashes that drug traffickers hide under the waterline

Javier Martínez


Sunday, 26 November 2023, 20:27


The Guardia Civil's anti-drug officers in Spain will use underwater drones with state-of-the-art recording systems to search for drug caches on the hulls of ships and the 'narco-diver' who pull the packages out of the water.

The acquisition of ten Gladius Mini S model devices aims to strengthen the Guardia Civil's capacity in the prevention and prosecution of drug trafficking in Valencian waters and other regions of Spain.

After detecting new techniques for concealing drugs on vessels arriving at European Union ports in recent years , the Guardia Civil's anti-drug groups have requested more technology to increase and improve inspections in the waters of the ports of Valencia, Alicante, Santander, Pontevedra, Bilbao, Tenerife, Las Palmas, Malaga, Barcelona and Algeciras.

Drug trafficking networks take advantage of different holes in the hulls of ships, both above and below the waterline, to hide cocaine stashes, and therefore need 'narco-divers' to hide the drugs in the country of origin and take them out days later when the ship docks in a Spanish port.

With the underwater drones the Guardia Civil will be better prepared "against all types of threats and particularly against smuggling", according to sources from the Guardia Civil command in Valencia.

The new devices will allow a greater number of inspections to be carried out on the hulls of the ships selected by officers of the Guardia Civil's Tax and Border Analysis and Investigation Unit (UDAIFF), and will also serve to support divers of the Special Group for Underwater Activities (GEAS), who will act when necessary after viewing the recordings of the underwater drones.

"The acquisition of this equipment has been 80% financed within the framework of the EUAF 2021 (Union Anti-Fraud Programme) of the European Anti-Fraud Office, and the remaining 20% by the Guardia Civil," the same sources said.

The Gladius Mini S underwater drones' patented motor reduces the chance of getting stuck in the silt and operates reliably in all types of harsh underwater environments. These devices have a remote control that supports Wi-Fi connections, wired data transfer to electronic devices (such as mobile phones or tablets) and a battery life of up to four hours.

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