The most risky underwater journey of the drug traffickers for a millionaire cache of cocaine | Spain

Iago Serantes, the alleged person responsible for the unloading of the narco-submarine, during his statement at the trial.
Iago Serantes, the alleged person responsible for the unloading of the narco-submarine, during his statement at the trial.EUROPA PRESS (Europa Press)

The surprising discovery in November 2019 of a shipment of more than 3,000 kilos of cocaine to Galicia in a semi-submersible boat built in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has made it clear, two years later, how the last links of the narco risk their lives for little money and they end up in prison, while the drug owners prepare the next shipment of hundreds of millions of euros.

The reconstruction of the hours before the arrival of the narco-submarine, after almost a month of agonizing journey, centered the trial this week against the 7 involved in the transport and reception of the drug on land. A plan to disembark the cocaine with gliders that destroyed the storm Cecilia after they made several attempts to approach the bathyscaphe since it was sailing off the Portuguese coast.

The Police were alerted to the arrival of a shipment in Galicia and Portugal deployed aerial means to spot a possible mother ship, but nobody counted that it was a practically undetectable semi-submersible, especially in the middle of a storm. Meanwhile, the four accused of waiting for the arrival of the millionaire cache made the last attempt to pick up the three crew members of the narco-submarine with a boat, and transfer the 152 bundles in a van to a safe storage area, leaving incriminating evidence in the WhatsApp messages that they were exchanged and that the prosecutor has wielded in the trial that has been held this week at the Hearing of Pontevedra.

Iago Serantes, considered the main person in charge of the operation on the ground, has flatly denied his participation despite the fact that in the chat through which he communicated with his alleged collaborators, including his father, Enrique Carlos, he maintained a direct connection with the pilot Agustín Álvarez , repeatedly using the term “download” and even offering one of them up to 20,000 euros if he participated.

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Serantes informed his father every time he contacted the narco-submarine. Already in Galician waters, the pilot was giving him the part of the navigation in front of the Cíes Islands and of the impossibility of lining the drug due to the strong swell: “That’s it, this one loaded this morning to hold”, referring to the fuel. “In the end I don’t know what happens, I think it sinks him. Let’s see if I get information from him ”.

When the problems begin to approach the coast, Iago comments to his father: “Agustín is already black, he says that they lie to him. He said not to call him anymore or use the cell phone. What is there, has to wait. I don’t think it will sink if no water enters ”. And he adds: “When they pay I will make a money order for you to go on a trip.”

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At another point in the conversations exposed by the prosecutor, father and son discuss a plan to allegedly keep five bales of cocaine. Iago tells him: “I have Agustín’s clothes. They unload it by loading five packages. It was your idea from the beginning to the end ”. And his father replies: “I already tell you, it would be great … whoever robs a thief has all the forgiveness. What luck, stranded on the beach and catching five packages … Vice ”.

But the head of the porters downplayed the messages that the Police intercepted and argued before the court that “it was his way of speaking,” that “he was trying to help Agustín because he was my friend,” he said, before assuring that he was ignorant why was he asking for a boat? According to him, he found out after taking a plane to travel to Mallorca, where he learned that he was involved in a drug trafficking operation from the press. “I sensed that he was involved in a shady affair and I left.” “I never imagined that my friend Agustín was in the submarine,” he added.

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To questions from his lawyer, his father Enrique Carlos has also tried to clarify to the court that “the thing about catching five packages was due to the fact that we both suspected that Agustín could be involved in drug trafficking and thus we joke about it.” “But then I sent another message to Iago telling him not to get involved in anything,” he added.

Rodrigo Hermida, another of the defendants, was waiting in his car for the narco-submarine to arrive at O ​​Foxo beach, in Cangas, following instructions from Iago, who had sent him the location. His task was to provide lights to guide the pilot to the agreed point, where they were going to sink the ship and pick up the crew, to whom he would deliver bags of clothing and supplies that Iago’s father had given him. He then told his father that he had lost contact with Agustín: “He stopped answering. He said ‘I’m close here. Tell him to give lights ”.

But Hermida had been discovered by the Civil Guard and left the place after the agents asked him to identify himself and to inspect the trunk where he was carrying three identical bags with clothes and energy drinks for the sailors of the ship. A conclusive evidence that precipitated his subsequent arrest, to the point that he incriminated his boss Iago Serantes in his first police statement: “He offered me 15,000 to 20,000 euros for participating in a drug discharge, but I answered no”, he said at the trial.

Another of the defendants Yago Rego, a resident of Leida, the one who supposedly looked for the boat and the van to crown the unloading of the bundles, has said that he traveled to Galicia when Iago Serantes told him that Agustín, a friend of both, “needed help in Vigo”. “I didn’t know what kind of help he needed, I had to bring him clothes and food,” he said.

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When the unloading failed, Iago Serantes fled to Mallorca but first sent a last message to his father in which, according to the prosecutor, he informed him that the pilot had escaped from the Police and took refuge in a cabin in Cangas (Pontevedra ). “The cuckoo is in the nest, calm down,” he says. There, Agustín Álvarez spent three days in hiding without food or drink until he was arrested.

Two cranes refloat at the end of 2019 the 'narco-submarine' sunk in Cangas (Pontevedra).
Two cranes refloat at the end of 2019 the ‘narco-submarine’ sunk in Cangas (Pontevedra).Marta Vazquez Rodriguez

The first narco-submarine intercepted in Europe traveled more than 4,000 miles between Brazil and Europe. The bathyscaphe had to cross an ocean enraged by the strong November storm and overcome various breakdowns. They were even on the verge of being hit by a ship in full swing, according to The voice of Galicia.

The considered pilot of the narco-submarine, although he has denied it, managed to escape exhausted from the beach where the Civil Guard detained the other two crew members, who were also at the limit of their forces. One of them asked the agent for time to recover when he was arrested. All three have been in prison ever since. Although it was hoped that their statement would shed more light on the case, they stated that they were afraid of reprisals from the drug owners, so they only confined themselves to confessing the facts and admitting that they had accepted the trip out of need for money.

The three have accepted the agreement of the Prosecutor’s Office, by which the sentence of 13 and a half years of imprisonment is reduced to 9 years, in exchange for confessing the facts. The agreement would be even more advantageous for the rest of those involved with a 6-year sentence of conformity, but ultimately none accepted it.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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