Spain: Eight arrests after two officers die in ‘narco-boat’ chase

Spain: Eight arrests after two officers die in 'narco-boat' chase
Guardia Civil officers carry the coffin of their colleague David Perez Carracedo in Pamplona, northern SpainEPA

Eight people have been arrested in Spain after two officers were killed in a boat chase with suspected drug traffickers.

Miguel Angel Gomez Gonzalez, 39, and David Perez Carracedo, 43, died when a speedboat rammed the police’s smaller vessel.

Two other officers were injured, one seriously.

The incident happened in the southern port of Barbate, near Cadiz, on Friday night.

According to Spanish daily El Pais, Barbate’s mayor, Miguel Molina, contacted the Civil Guard asking for assistance after six “narco-boats” were spotted by residents sheltering from a storm in the city’s port.

The deadly boat chase occurred later that evening. In a video shared on social media, people on the shore can be heard seemingly cheering the traffickers on as the speedboat collides with the police boat.

The incident has shaken the local community – and sparked calls to give police more powers to fight drug traffickers.

Local media said the eight people arrested include known drug dealers and money launderers. As they were brought into court on Monday morning, they were heckled by onlookers, who shouted “murderers” and “rot in jail”.

More than a thousand people attended the agents’ funerals, which were held on Sunday.

In a statement, the Spanish Guardia Civil officers’ association (AUGC) said it has long demanded a “real plan” to provide officers with better means and resources to fight drug traffickers, and called for the resignation of Spain’s interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska.

For his part, Mr Grande-Marlaska said the deaths of the two officers amounted to an “assassination” and promised “zero impunity” in efforts to stop drug trafficking.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he “deeply regrets” the deaths and paid tribute to “the great work” done by security forces in the fight against trafficking.

Cadiz and the surrounding region are known to be key points of entry for traffickers smuggling drugs. In particular the nearby 15km-wide (9 mile) Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Europe from Africa, is a favoured route among drug smugglers.

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By David Ryckman