Informer ‘offered EUR 5.4m to ship cocaine’
13 February 2004
MADRID – An informer for the US anti-drug agency testified that he was offered EUR 5.4 million as payment to help transport five tonnes of cocaine from Colombia in 2001, it was reported Friday.
Spaniards, Chileans, Colombians, Greeks and one Nicaraguan are involved in the case.
The high court known as the Audiencia Nacional heard the trial Friday of 15 people suspected of taking part in the operation, including Jose Ramon Prado Bugallo, or “Sito Miñaco,” for whom prosecutors are seeking a 20-year prison sentence and EUR 749 million in fines.
According to the prosecutor, a Colombian group from Medellin and another from Spain contacted the informer through Colombian Carlos Eduardo Gomez, one of the defendants, to propose the DEA agent “take charge of transporting a large quantity of cocaine from Colombia to Spain.”
The witness, known as “Joseph,” said he had known Gomez since 1996 and, at the end of 2000, the Colombian had suggested meeting in Cuba.
Joseph said he told Canadian police of the meeting, since prior contacts with Gomez had always “involved drugs.”
The late David Sanchez Noreña attended the meeting and asked “Joseph” to look for a ship that could transport approximately 7 tonnes of cocaine from South America to Europe as well as a captain. He offered the informer EUR 780 for each kilo of cocaine.
“Joseph” then contacted the second protected witness in the case, a man known as “Costas,” who was also a DEA informant, and asked him to captain the “Agios Constandinos.”
The drugs were confiscated in August 2001 a few miles from French Guiana aboard the “Tatiana,” which the prosecutor said had been sent by the organization to receive the cocaine transported by the “Agios Constandinos.”
The case continues.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news