THE Guardia Civil in Oropesa del Mar (Castellon) have found an abandoned raft used by drug traffickers on one of the town’s beaches.
Known as a ‘narcoboat’ (narcolancha in Spanish), the rubber dinghy was discovered on Monday on Renega beach, near Torre Colomera.
It is believed the boat was manufactured in Portugal, as this type of dinghy has been illegal in Spain since 2018 after they were found to be the vessel of choice for drug and people-trafficking mafias.
From Portugal it is thought to have crossed the Straits of Gibraltar with three engines that enabled it to hit tops speeds of 120 kph.
Also on board were a large number of full petrol cannisters, as traffickers usually carry enough fuel for the journey to avoid having to get near the coast until the moment of dropping off their illegal cargo.
Investigators believe the crew had some kind of technical problem with the boat as they neared Oropesa, which forced them to abandon it after securing the shipment of hashish they were carrying with the help of other members of the gang who were waiting for them on land.
According to police, drug mafias have large and very well-organised networks of assistants all along the route to deal with any unexpected problems.
Judging by the size and power of the boat, the authorities believe it could have been carrying up to two tonnes of hashish.
The Guardia Civil towed the dinghy to their barracks in the Grau area, where the force will continue investigating its origin, route and any clues that could lead to the location and arrest of the crew.
Recent clampdowns in maritime drug trafficking on main entry points have led mafias to use longer and more dangerous routes, such as via the coast of Castellon.
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