Two Spanish seamen serving imprisonment sentences for drugs related crimes in the Falkland Islands have been deported and since last Sunday are back in Spain, reports the Islands Police Headquarters.
The two seamen from Cangas, Galicia were caught in October 2008 with £1 million worth of cocaine on board the trawler “Ventura”. The haul was discovered by a Falklands Customs team working with ‘Leo’, a trained dog from MPA.
“On Saturday 09 April 2011 two Spanish Seamen, both serving sentences of imprisonment in Stanley Prison for Importing a Controlled Drug and one of them, a further sentence for Burglary, had their sentences remitted and were deported from the Falkland Islands to return to their homes in Spain”.
The two men had made application to the Governor to exercise the prerogative of mercy to remit the remainder of their sentences of imprisonment.
Following on advice from the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, as required under section 71 of the Falklands’ Constitution, the Governor remitted the two sentences with effect from the second anniversary of the date of sentence.
Both men served almost two and half years imprisonment when time spent on remand in custody was included.
The two men were placed on the north bound Air-Bridge on Saturday 09April 2011 and returned to Spain via Heathrow Airport on Sunday 10 April 2011.
The two Spanish seamen were arrested on 30 October 2008 and charged with importing 30 kilos in 29 packets of cocaine to the Falklands following an inspection with sniffer dog ‘Leo’ of the Falklands’ registered trawler “Ventura” moored outside of Stanley harbour.
During police interviews the seamen stated that they had obtained all twenty nine packages of cocaine when in a brothel in Montevideo, Uruguay. One of the seamen said that they were being paid 20.0000 Euros to take the packages back to Spain in the Ventura.
Initially all the packages had been placed in the wardrobe of one of them but halfway through the fishing season, the other seaman became concerned that his partner was using the cocaine and moved it to under his own bunk.
However the story did not end there since a routine check weeks later of the Stanley Police station cell where the evidence was under custody revealed that 23 of the packets were missing. According to the official release at the time a search of the premises found evidence of one discarded bag and packaging from some of the missing packets.
It was later admitted that all the cells have an approximate three inch gap under the door and more concerning, that the extensive armoury held by the Royal Falkland Islands Police was contained within the same cell from which the drugs were removed.
The investigation revealed that one of the seamen was involved in the theft of the cocaine inside the Police Station which was then dumped into the drains.
The seaman was sentenced to five years imprisonment on the cocaine importation charge and to a further 16 months imprisonment to run concurrently, on a charge of burglary, related to the disappearance of 23 kilo bags of cocaine from the police cell in which it was guarded.