Colleagues weep as they carry the coffin of the deceased Spanish Coast Guard in the cathedral of Cadiz. on February 11, 2024. Spanish authorities said that two Civil Guard officers were killed near the port of Barbate on Friday when a speedboat belonging to suspected smugglers smashed into the officers' patrol boat. (Photo by Juan Carlos Toro/Getty Images)


Outrage after Spanish coast officer deaths


Two law enforcement officers from the Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) have been killed while on duty in the port of Barbate on the Spanish Atlantic coast.

A 14-metre so-called “narco boat” with a 300-horsepower engine, apparently coming from Morocco, hit the two men.

The two Civil Guards were reportedly in small zodiac speedboat at the time and no local services were able to attend as they had been non-operational for months, according to authorities.

David Pérez Carracedo, 43, and Miguel Ángel González Gómez, 39, were “sent to a war without bullets”, said a member of the Civil Guard.

Both Pérez and González were married with children. A third agent involved, who survived, had to have his arm amputated.

Spain’s interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska confirmed authorities had detained eight suspects involved in the deaths of the law enforcement officers.

The deaths occurred the same week the interior ministry reported that the number of “irregular” migrants coming to European Union’s most southern border (the Canary Islands) spiked by 1,000 percent.

Civil Guard associations are demanding Marlaska’s resignation.

In 2022, he dissolved an anti-drug trafficking unit of 150 agents stationed across the Andalusia region coast.

Jucil, the largest association of Civil Guards, said it will lobby the Spanish Congress to create a special commission to investigate if “the Government’s inaction” was responsible for the deaths of the two officers.

The leader of the opposition Alberto Núñez Feijóo also urged Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to fire Marlaska for what he called his “disdain” of the Civil Guard.

Santiago Abascal, of the Conservative party VOX, said the Government’s response regarding such drug-dealers, “narcos”, should be “lead or lead … if we are to prevent them from dominating the country as they do in the narco-dictatorships of the Americas”.

Sánchez was heavily criticised by the opposition and on social media for not visiting Barbate after the two Civil Guards died.

Instead, he attended the Goya’s, an award ceremony at the Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.