The death of a young boy in a boating accident in Getares, Algeciras has raised concerns of violent retaliation from local drug gangs. Police investigating the death are implementing extra security measures to in a bid to prevent any acts of vengeance.
Things are hot and there could be vengeance
Algeciras police officer
The nine-year-old boy was killed on Monday after a speedboat accidentally ran over the vessel he was sailing in with his father. The captain and co-driver of the speedboat were arrested but the former, Alejandro J. C. G., was later released on Tuesday afternoon.
Police have introduced the measures to protect Alejandro from possible reprisals from the boy’s family. “Things are hot and there could be vengeance,” said a police officer from the area.
The father of the young boy is a member of the Panotoja clan, a notorious drug-trafficking gang that works closely with Abdella El Haj, nicknamed the “Messi” of hashish. According to Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido, the father has a criminal record. The captain of the speedboat, Pedro M. B. F. also has a criminal record for drug trafficking. Judicial sources, however, do not know which narco group Alejandro is affiliated with, explaining that he does not have “a senior position in drug trafficking.”
Following the death of the nine-year-old, the family released a press release asking the media “to respect” their pain. “We have the right to bid farewell to our little one in peace. We beg you, even if it is just for today, not to mix us up in fake news, not to manipulate a tragic accident and to respect a father who only wants to bury his child with honor,” read the statement released by the Town Hall of La Línea de la Concepción.
Around 100 police officers and a helicopter have been deployed
As part of the increased security effort, numerous national and local police officers have been sent to patrol the streets in the center of Algeciras. The mayor of Algeciras, José Ignacio Landaluce, also held a meeting to discuss the situation in the port city with representatives of the local and central government, regional government of Andalusia and security forces. “We have established protocols for action and collaboration in response to the recent series of events,” said Antonio Sanz, a delegate from the regional government, at the end of the meeting.
These events include not only the death of the nine-year-old but also an attack last Saturday on nine Civil Guard officers who were surrounded by 40 men and beaten. Eight required medical attention for their injuries. Police arrested seven people and are investigating five others, four of whom have previous charges for drug trafficking.
When asked about the new security blitz, Sanz did not elaborate on how many officers had been deployed or what operations were planned, saying he did not want to tip off “the bad guys.” He argued that despite recent events, “Algeciras is a safe city. The crime rate has dropped 3.6% in the past four months.”
According to local police union sources, La Línea is already seeing the impact of the increased security measures. Around 100 officers have been brought in from across Campo de Gibraltar to work alongside Civil Guard and police officers in several operations in the city. A police helicopter has also been spotted. But according to the SUP police union, “none” of their requests for more resources and personnel has been met.
English version by Melissa Kitson.