The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

The pilot of a narco-submarine, his childhood friends and 3,000 kilos of cocaine: the frustrated landing

2022-01-17T03:18:32.187Z

The book 'Operación Marea Negra' by Javier Romero recounts the semi-submersible's journey across the Atlantic in harsh conditions and the young captain's call to his usual gang to involve them in unloading



Members of the Civil Guard and Customs refloat the 'narco-submarine' used to transport drugs, seized in Cangas do Morrazo, in the Pontrevedra estuary, in November 2019. OSCAR CORRAL

Agustín Álvarez (31 years old) and Iago Serantes (30) became friends almost since they learned to walk; His grandparents were close friends and neighbors of the Guixar neighborhood in Teis, a parish in Vigo. As a child, Agustín also befriended Rodrigo Hermida (28). And the three, in adolescence, met Yago Rego (36), the oldest of the group. “They would party together, almost always in A Ramaiosa [Baiona parish, another nearby town hall]. They [Agus, Serantes and Rego] also went to the Arenal [a drinking area in the center of Vigo], sometimes with Rodrigo, who has been a friend of Agustín for many years”, a friend of that group told Javier Romero (Xinzo de Limia, Ourense, 41 years old), author of the book

Operación Marea Negra

(Ediciones B) in which he breaks down in detail, thanks to interviews and unpublished documents, the process that led Agustín Álvarez to command the first known narco-submarine to cross the Atlantic from the Amazon jungle to the Galician coast, and the process followed by the police of England, Portugal and Spain reconstructing a journey that, if it were not for its criminal purpose, would have much of heroic. Amazon Prime will premiere a miniseries about the case in February starring Álex González.

The relationship of Álvarez, a former Spanish boxing promise, with cocaine dates, according to the researchers, from his stay in Lleida. There he traveled to work with one of his friends for whom things were going well, Yago Rego. Rego, passionate about high competition karts who had set up his own

karting material distribution company

. At the age of 27, he offered a job to his soulmate Agustín Álvarez, who was then 23 years old. Both the Civil Guard and Agustín's friends believe that there, thanks to his travels throughout Spain, he began to work in the small-scale distribution of drugs. He grew up in the drug trafficking business, so much so that three years later he settled in Madrid and began to lead a high standard of living. The year was 2016. Rego was still in Lleida with his go-kart business, Iago Serantes had fallen in love in Mallorca and worked there as he liked (employee at stores like Nike or Mango, picking tomatoes or laying plasterboard), Rodrigo Hermida was still in Vigo, at his parents' house, working above all as a waiter in various restaurants.

In the image, from top to bottom: Rodrigo Hermida, Iago Serantes, Agustín Álvarez (pilot of the boat), Carlos Enrique Serantes and Yago Rego.

Javier Romero, investigative journalist for

La Voz de Galicia,

reports in

Operación Marea Negra

that, when they assign the mission to Agustín Álvarez, the Galician is the plan B to take three tons of cocaine from America to Europe. He has very little time (he suddenly suspends his birthday party) and, upon entering the semi-submersible, he notices that the space is too narrow to share with two Ecuadorians (Pedro Roberto and Luis Tomás Manzaba), there is little ventilation and the engine room exhaust gases generated by the engine. Despite this, they left on October 19, 2019 and crossed the ocean after surviving three storms and the attack of a merchant ship by the pilot of the semi-invisible device from Vigo. Upon reaching the point in the Azores where two gliders from the Peninsula had to pick up the merchandise, an engine of one of the gliders failed due to mechanical problems.They waited there for days, sailing erratically until they couldn't take it anymore. The organization (those responsible for the operation are unknown) ordered them to go up to Galicia. Already with just enough fuel and no air, after more than 20 days locked up in a minimal cabin, Agustín Álvarez desperately thought of his estuary, that of Vigo, and his forever friends. "It was not an alternative plan to that of the parrot's owners, nor was it about taking anything, it was simply a response to the lack of time to find professional boatmen," explains Romero."It was not an alternative plan to that of the parrot's owners, nor was it about taking anything, it was simply a response to the lack of time to find professional boatmen," explains Romero."It was not an alternative plan to that of the parrot's owners, nor was it about taking anything, it was simply a response to the lack of time to find professional boatmen," explains Romero.

None of Agustín Álvarez's friends knew about the cocaine landing operation in which he had been involved. But, through calls from the satellite phones with which Álvarez travels, they learn that his friend is desperate on the high seas. The first to receive the notice were Iago Serantes, who was in Mallorca, and Yago Rego, in Lleida. According to the prosecutor's account, he called a friend of the Vigo gang to ask him for a truck [the police suspect to transport the cocaine]. He broke off communication when his friend told him that he did not have Telegram and could only communicate on WhatsApp. Precisely by WhatsApp, Iago Serantes communicated with his father, Carlos Enrique Serantes, also indicted. Rego Jr. immediately flew from Palma de Mallorca to Santiago. With a private car he went to the Aldán estuary,in Hío, in the south of Pontevedra. “The place where the DEA [US Drug Enforcement Administration] had precisely pointed out the exact location of the imminent unloading of the three tons of cocaine,” says Javier Romero. Over there, on a stormy November evening, two vessels from the Customs Surveillance Service were already patrolling. Serantes then went to Vigo. Meanwhile, Yago Rego flew there from Barcelona.Serantes then went to Vigo. Meanwhile, Yago Rego flew there from Barcelona.Serantes then went to Vigo. Meanwhile, Yago Rego flew there from Barcelona.

The coordination and execution of the unloading on land was in the hands of Serantes accompanied by Rego, according to the investigation. They needed more people: they called Rodrigo Hermida. According to Hermida, Serantes offered him 20,000 euros to help. According to Hermida also, he rejected the offer despite having his parents seized by debts. While the narco-submarine approached Galicia, the two Yagos stayed awake and in communication with Agustín. "If Rodrigo could win up to 20,000 euros for a tertiary collaboration, why wouldn't both Yagos, for example, get 100,000 euros per beard of the 123 million euros at stake?" Romero points out. The two tempted another friend to leave them a pleasure boat urgently, but this friend, surprised, told them no. "And with this storm nobody is going to rent it to you." in between,Iago Serantes and his father, in constant communication, discuss the idea of ​​keeping five kilos when they unload. "It was your idea from start to finish," the son writes. "I'm telling you, it would be great. Who steals from a thief has all the forgiveness, "replies the father. But the operation was impossible to carry out due to bad weather. And Serantes returned to Mallorca, although he continued to communicate with Agustín (who told him to erase everything and that he would be left without a line, not to talk anymore) and with his father (“the sea is totally calm”, he writes to him the next day ; "damn, it could already be yesterday," Serantes replies).Who steals from a thief has all the forgiveness, "replies the father. But the operation was impossible to carry out due to bad weather. And Serantes returned to Mallorca, although he continued to communicate with Agustín (who told him to erase everything and that he would be left without a line, not to talk anymore) and with his father (“the sea is totally calm”, he writes to him the next day ; "damn, it could already be yesterday," Serantes replies).Who steals from a thief has all the forgiveness, "replies the father. But the operation was impossible to carry out due to bad weather. And Serantes returned to Mallorca, although he continued to communicate with Agustín (who told him to erase everything and that he would be left without a line, not to talk anymore) and with his father (“the sea is totally calm”, he writes to him the next day ; "damn, it could already be yesterday," Serantes replies).

A fishing vessel hired by the organization was already heading for Che, the name of the narco-submarine, and thus carried out the transfer of the material on the Costa da Morte. The semi-submersible was waiting at the agreed place and, a few miles away, a Civil Guard patrol boat. When the trawler approached the narco-submarine in the early afternoon of November 23, a Civil Guard helicopter appeared in the skies pointing a light cannon at the trawler. The ex-boxer threw miles towards a cove in Aldán. And he turned to his friends again: this time not to circulate the merchandise on land, but to save his life. He asked Iago Serantes to wait for him on the shore with a discreet car and full heating, and a coat and food. Serantes did not do it (his father did not either), but he warned Rodrigo Hermida to come there. hermida,this time yes, and according to him, since it was only about saving his friend, he stopped with the car at an indicated point on the coast, making long stops to guide the narco-submarine. In 15 minutes the boat sank near some rocks, and Agustín and his crew could see from afar the long lights that guided them. Without knowing that this was happening, Rodrigo Hermida got tired of waiting and left. Before, a Civil Guard patrol, pending the operation, asked him what he was doing there.Before, a Civil Guard patrol, pending the operation, asked him what he was doing there.Before, a Civil Guard patrol, pending the operation, asked him what he was doing there.

"I told them that I was from Vigo and that I had argued with my girlfriend, I was clearing things up a bit," he declared.

He left with the license plate taken. Agustín Álvarez miraculously managed to reach the ground avoiding the surveillance, but his two companions did not. He spent six days hiding in a dilapidated cabin in his wetsuit, blistered from the humidity, his skin smeared black from the semi-submersible's oil. With hardly any food or drink, in pitiful conditions. This is how the National Police found him. On successive days, leading his normal life, Iago Serantes, his father and Rodrigo Hermida were arrested. Yago Rego, the last one, continued with his routine in Lleida, but already in a state of panic knowing that at any moment it would be his turn, until it was his turn. They all testified at the trial a month ago; They all face prison sentences, although the only ones who remain in jail are the three crew members of the narco-submarine.

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-01-17

You may like

News/Politics 2022-04-19T10:56:09.651Z
News/Politics 2022-04-04T15:57:01.085Z

Trends 24h

News/Politics 2022-05-13T08:55:42.428Z

Latest

© Communities 2019 - Privacy