TWO men have been arrested after a police drone spotted a suspected ‘narcolancha’ on Spain’s river Guadalquivir.
The crew of the semi-rigid inflateable speed boat had jumped into the water in an effort to evade capture in the Doñana Natural Reserve.
Police say the 10-metre boat was heading for the open sea, with officers suspecting it was on the way to Morocco to load up with hashish.
The operation was part of an ongoing campaign set up by the Policia Nacional in Andalucia against smuggling gangs that use the river to find secluded spots to unload drugs.
Through intelligence, officers learned that a drugs run was planned, so last Saturday put an operation into action to detect the boat.
Due to the inaccessible terrain they deployed drones to spot the suspected smugglers.
On seeing the unmanned aircraft the crewmembers tried to escape by swimming across the river. They did not get far. Waiting police arrested them on the riverbank.
Officers then recovered the boat, which was found to contain several barrels of fuel, warm clothes, a GPS and food supplies.
The River Guadalquivir is known to be a drug runners ‘highway’ with gangs able to bring large quantities of hashish as far as Sevilla.
In previous police operations speed launches have been found hidden in industrial warehouses near the river, ready to be deployed quickly, then rapidly unloaded and hidden on their return.