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Spanish police arrest captain of the ‘narco-submarine’

Authorities had been looking for the man since last week, when they intercepted the submersible with three tons of cocaine on board

Spanish Civil Guard divers stand over the “narco-submarine.”
Spanish Civil Guard divers stand over the “narco-submarine.” AFP

Spanish police on Friday arrested the captain who fled from the “narco-submarine” that was intercepted by authorities last week in Spain’s northwestern Galicia region. Police had been looking for the captain since they captured the submersible, which was carrying 3,000 kilos of cocaine, on November 24.

The man, who hails from Galicia, was arrested in Tomadas de Hío, in Cangas do Morrazo, in Pontevedra province. He was still wearing the wetsuit he was in when he escaped from the submarine. His two Ecuadorian crew mates were detained when the vessel was intercepted, and are now being held in custody.

Two Ecuadorian crew mates were detained when the vessel was intercepted

On Saturday, the police arrested a second man from Galicia inside his home in Vigo. This individual had allegedly approached the area to help the captain. Police are now investigating which drug-trafficking group the two men belong to.

The Civil Guard, National Police and Spain’s Customs Surveillance Service (SVA) launched a joint operation on November 23, after receiving an alert from the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre (MAOC), based in Lisbon, Portugal, that a submarine was navigating through the Atlantic Ocean towards the coast of Galicia.

The narco-submarine, which was refloated and towed to the port of Aldán in Pontevedra province last Tuesday, is the first to have been caught in Europe. It was carrying 3,000 kilos of cocaine, divided into 152 packages. The vessel was made in a secret shipyard in the jungle of Suriname or Guyana in South America to transport the shipment from Colombia to Galicia.

According to Spanish authorities, the shipment of cocaine it was carrying has a black market value of €100 million.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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