Update 6 August 2013: A zodiac narcopatera was found early yesterday morning by various locals and hotel staff in the Playa del Camisón area. The craft had been washed against the rocks and was almost deflated. Inside, police found several empty fuel cans. National Police are investigating, but it appears that on this occasion some drugs might have got through the police net. Thankfully their cordon is often successful, since there have only been a few such boats spotted in the three years since I last updated this post.
Update 31 August 2010: Another narcopatera, this time a patera-like wooden boat, was found this morning pulled up on the coast near the parque marítimo in Santa Cruz. The Guardia Civil says that the craft appears to have arrived last night, and that it was empty of any clues as to what it had contained, though they are working on the “likeliest hypothesis” that it was used to transport drugs.
As posted below, previous crafts, whether wooden pateras or zodiac types, have appeared around the Tenerife coastline, for example in Los Silos, Buenavista del Norte, Valleseco, Las Gaviotas and Almáciga. The Guardia Civil believes that the entry points are varied so as to avoid the Sistema Integral de Vigilancia Exterior (SIVE) radar system. El Dia
Update 19 June: Another narcopatera has been found on Tenerife’s coastline, on this occasion in Playa de Valleseco, near to Santa Cruz port. Everything suggests that this boat, too, was used to introduce drugs into the island though it appears from the picture above not to have been a zodiac, and it had again been abandoned after serving its purpose. Police have started an investigation to try to identify the traffickers who were on board. It is thought to have avoided being picked up on radar because of its small size. Local fishermen think for this reason it couldn’t have come very far. RTVC
Original post 25 May: They call them “narcopateras”, drug boats, and over the last month, four have been found run aground on Tenerife’s coast. The fourth was found in the early hours of yesterday at the playa de El Socorro, in the Puertito de Güímar, say the Guardia Civil.
They are zodiacs, small dinghy-type crafts with outboard motors, and they are used to slip drugs into Tenerife unnoticed. This latest one was spotted by a local around 8am, and as with the other three, there was no trace of drugs or occupants. They had managed to get in again.
Police sources believe that behind them is a well-structured organization which takes care of their security to the last detail. This view is reinforced by the latest one coming into Güímar after the Guardia Civil posted watch on the north coast where the previous three had landed, between Los Silos and Buenavista, on the 12th, 13th and 20th of this month.
They are believed to be bringing increasingly frequent consignments of hash into the island, and clearly have the means to know how to avoid police and immigration patrols. It seems, however, that despite the cat and mouse game the smugglers have been playing with the Guardia Civil, there has lately been a new tip off by phone for police to follow up. LO