Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
The man nabbed for being the pilot of Europe’s first-known narco submarine – after it sank off Spain’s coast with over three tonnes of cocaine on board – has been revealed to be a former national boxing champion.
Local media have named the suspect as former boxer Agustin Alvarez Martinez.
The suspect was detained in November 2019 for piloting the narco submarine that sank near the shore of Pontevedra in the province of the same name in the northern Spanish autonomous community of Galicia.
The submarine was reportedly sunk by its occupants after they experienced engine and ventilation problems, leading it to be the first to have ever been discovered off the coasts of the European Union.
The cargo reportedly contained some 3,000 kilogrammes (6,614 lbs) of cocaine and the submarine was capable of transporting between three and five tonnes of the class A substance.
Two Ecuadorian men were arrested in connection with the submarine and its illicit cargo. Alleged narco-trafficker Martinez was able to flee but he was eventually apprehended by authorities.
And now local media have revealed the man suspected of having been the submarine’s pilot to be a well-known figure in the world of amateur boxing.
He fought for the ‘Club Polideportivo Saudade’ in the light heavyweight class. The club is based in the city of Vigo in Galicia.
He was reportedly crowned Spain’s national champion in amateur boxing a decade ago and won several awards as a young boxer although it is unclear why he decided to hang up his gloves.
David Villa, a friend of Martinez who boxed with him at his gym said: “I could not believe it.
“He was a natural athlete and a total champion, he actually was a champion. For him to end up in a situation like this is sad.”
Martinez reportedly fled for four days before he was found at a small rural warehouse and he remains in police custody.
Spanish local authorities managed to intercept the submarine because they were warned by the Maritime Analysis and Operation Centre (MAOC) and the Intelligence Centre for Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime (CITCO) about a suspicious ship sailing towards Spain in the Atlantic ocean.
The Portuguese, British, Brazilian and American police also helped in the operation however it is unclear exactly how they assisted in the operation.
In this first phase, collaboration with the UK police forces was reportedly essential to facilitate the subsequent interception of the submarine.
It is unclear if the investigation is ongoing.
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