Spanish Navy finds 127 Kg of cocaine on board training tall ship

Posted Aug 8, 2014 by Igor I. Solar
The Spanish training ship "Juan Sebastián Elcano" is at the center of a messy controversy after authorities found on board a cargo of 127 kilos of cocaine. Three crew members were arrested and are being investigated for drug trafficking.
Spanish Navy training vessel  Juan Sebastian de Elcano  during a visit to Pensacola  Florida  in 200...
Spanish Navy training vessel "Juan Sebastian de Elcano" during a visit to Pensacola, Florida, in 2009, as part of the city's 450th anniversary.
Scott Hallford
The investigation seeks to determine whether this is an isolated event or if the vessel, a four-masted barquentine belonging to the Spanish Navy may have been frequently used for drug smuggling. The tall-ship, one of the three oldest sailing ships still in operation, is used to train officers of the Spanish Navy. The vessel, commanded by Captain Enrique Torres Piñeyro, has a crew of 23 officers, 22 sub-officers, 139 sailors and 69 officer cadets.
The latest cruise of instruction began on March 1. The training ship sailed 18,000 nautical miles and called at the ports of Cagliari (Italy), Mahon, Sète (France), Cádiz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Melilla (Spain), Praia (Cabo Verde), Cartagena (Colombia), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), New York (USA), Dublin (Ireland), Hamburg (Germany) and Oslo (Norway). The three sailors (identity have not been released) were arrested on July 12 at Marín (Pontevedra, Spain), prior to the arrival of the ship to its base in the port of Cádiz. The bulk of the cocaine, 127 kilos, was discovered on August 2 after a detailed inspection of the ship.
According to the reconstruction of the route of the drug, the sailors were contacted in April by drug traffickers in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. The crew members brought on board the ship, concealed in their clothes, 147 kilos of cocaine in several lots. They were able to elude controls, and in mid-May they delivered a fraction of the cargo (20 kilograms) to recipients in New York. According to the newspaper El País (in Spanish), the sailors charged $ 5,000 per kilo of cocaine transported.
The Spanish Police force (Guardia Civil), said the investigation was conducted jointly with American and Colombian authorities. American police detained in New York two people of Colombian origin who received part of the drug. Spanish Police is attempting to find out if this is the first time that the smuggling was done and whether the three detainees, who risk between six months to six years in prison, had other accomplices inside or outside the ship.
The case is a shameful event in the history of the ship "Juan Sebastián Elcano". The vessel, twin sister of the training ship "Esmeralda" of the Chilean Navy, was built in 1927 and named after the explorer who completed the first circumnavigation in 1521. The training ship belongs to the Spanish Navy since 1928. It has been around the world 10 times, has called in more than 180 ports in 70 countries, and has sailed more than a million and a half nautical miles. Among the most illustrious alumni of the four-masted barquentine are the current King Felipe VI of Spain and his father, Juan Carlos.