A military judge has indicted six Spanish military sailors and a civilian for allegedly trafficking cocaine hidden aboard a naval training ship, a rare case touching upon the often overlooked role of yachts and Europe’s armed forces in drug trafficking modus operandi.
The six military personnel were crew members of the Juan Sebastián de Elcano naval training ship in 2014.
According to El País, the indictment accuses them of “having taken advantage of the absence of a customs check of the ship when it docked at international ports […] to allegedly participate in cocaine trafficking from Cartagena to New York, where they were to receive payment from the local supplier for the smuggled drugs.”
Authorities believe that the ship’s civilian cook, Manuel Francisco Sirvente Prius alias “El Naca,” was a trusted contact of Colombian drug traffickers and introduced the sailors to Joaquín Pernett Zapatero, alias “Mondongo” or “Mondonguito,” when the ship called at the port of Cartagena in April 2014.
Mondongo gave the sailors a total of 31 kilograms of cocaine, for which they were to be payed $64,000 upon delivery in New York. One of the sailors was also given $1,000 upfront to hide the cocaine in the ship’s waste plant.
The cook also received $1,000 to threaten two of the sailors who backtracked out of the deal once in New York, warning them that “their [physical] integrity was in danger” if they didn’t deliver.
While the indictment only concerns 31 kilos of drugs, the scheme was probably of greater magnitude. On July 30, 2014, the Spanish Navy announced the discovery of 127 kilos of cocaine aboard the ship, whose origin and destination have not yet been established.
According to the military judge who brought down the indictment, Patricia Moncada, Mondongo and one of the accused sailors, Jimmy Enrique Vanoni Calderón, were planning on trafficking between 300 and 400 kilos of drugs the following year during the military ship’s crossing.
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Source : War is Boring Online