It was 6pm on Saturday evening when the few dozen beachgoers who were enjoying the sun in Sorvilán, Granada, were surprised to hear the sound of a Civil Guard vessel that was pursuing a small craft just a few meters from the shoreline. The spectacle, however, did not end there. The boat headed directly for the shore, and very nearly collided with one of the members of the public present.
“He’s coming over here,” one of the beachgoers is heard to say on a video recording of the incident. “They’re going to land here, just watch, watch…” “They” were two drug traffickers, and their vessel was packed with bundles of hashish. In the recording, the pair are seen to jump from the boat, each of them with a bag in their arms, before running aimlessly away from the sea.
A dozen or so of the beachgoers then go after one of the traffickers, eventually managing to immobilize him on the sand. The other was detained moments later by the Civil Guard. The members of the public who were present had unexpectedly stepped in to help the authorities with their task – although it should be pointed out that the first person to confront the alleged criminal was an off-duty sergeant from the Civil Guard.
The two suspects, aged 43 and 32, were taken to prison cells in Salobreña, 40 kilometers from where they were detained. The cargo they were carrying, 808 kilos of hashish in total, is valued at €1.5 million.
Passers-by and beachgoers are usually witnesses to the incidents rather than getting directly involved
Apart from this incident, the summer has so far been relatively calm in terms of the number of drug deliveries that are turning up on the beaches of the southern Andalusia region. The sight of police chases on the coasts or of drugs being offloaded on beaches in the midst of stunned tourists – which were frequent until a special plan was put in place by the authorities – is now relatively rare. The last one to go viral took place a year ago, when a helicopter pursuit of a drug boat ended up on the beach at La Línea de la Concepción. Unlike what happened on the Melicena beach this weekend, passers-by and beachgoers are usually witnesses to the incidents rather than getting directly involved.
This summer, the biggest marijuana haul in Spain so far – 5.6 tons of the plant that were ready to be shipped to the United Kingdom – took place in La Mojonera, a municipality close to the Almería coast, between Roquetas del Mar and El Ejido. The operation took place on July 15, and the drug gang had its operation center in the Costa del Sol – a regular base for this kind of operation, not just in the summer.
In this part of Málaga province, the latest major seizure did not involve a drug boat, but rather a modern yacht in which 1,018-kilo packages of cocaine had been hidden. Last month, a drone that was being used to move drugs between Morocco and Malaga was also located and seized by the authorities.
English version by Simon Hunter.