THE Guardia Civil arrested four men of North African origin who landed with a powerboat off the coast of les Rotes Denia last Saturday. A local fisherman called the authorities that morning to advise them that he had spotted a boat about 14 miles offshore that appeared to be drifting.
With only thoughts of a rescue operation, the emergency services of the coastguard and Guardia Civil immediately went into action sending a helicopter and boat to save the drifting vessel.
However, the apparent hapless sailors in need of rescue fled from their would be rescuers, and landed their semi inflatable boat on the rocks of Les Rotes.
More Guardia Civil were present to arrest three men from the boat on grounds of disobeying instructions and failure to co-operate with the authorities. A fourth man escaped but was arrested later in the day.
The boat in question was not equipped with food, or any other provisions, and neither were any drugs found, but it is believed by the Guardia that this interception is linked with another more successful operation on Tuesday of last week, when a boat carrying 940 kilos of hashish was discovered off Santa Pola.
The two boats were of similar design, both being 12 metres long and powered by a 250 HP outboard motor, giving them great speed.
The apparent modus operandi of such smugglers is to time their approaches to coincide with favourable tides and then throw the drugs into the sea at night knowing that they will float into land on the tide and be picked up by awaiting ‘gang’ members.
By Paul Deed