Some 1,000 police officers, firefighters and volunteers searched on Saturday for an eight-
year-old boy whose disappearance four days previously in Almeria has gripped the country.
Gabriel Cruz was at his grandmother's home in the small village of Las Hortichuelas when he
left to go play at a friend's house nearby last Tuesday afternoon. He has not been seen
His relatives alerted police who published a missing person's alert with a photo of the
smiling boy, which went viral in Spain via mobile messaging services and social media.
Since then, police and volunteers have been combing the countryside in the area on foot
and on horseback, using helicopters and drones to try and locate him. Interior Minister Juan
Ignacio Zoido said police were also searching waters off the coast nearby.
Cruz's parents have given several tearful interviews to Spanish media, saying he knew the
area well and could not have got lost.
“We hope we will get Gabriel back soon and that he will return home with his family, which
is where a boy who is only eight should be," his father Angel Cruz told reporters at a press
conference, before breaking down in tears.
In a twist on Friday, it emerged that a man had been detained this week for stalking
Gabriel's mother Patricia Ramirez, though authorities stressed he was not held in
connection with the disappearance of her son.
The man, named as Diego Miguel, had become "obsessed" with Ramirez and in 2016 was
ordered by a judge to stay away from her and given a three-month suspended jail sentence.
However, he broke this order several times, including in the hours when Gabriel
disappeared, and was detained for this reason authorities said. Police said they are
investigating the circumstances, but Angel Cruz stressed Saturday he believed the man had
nothing to do with his son's disappearance.
A child’s vest was found in the rural area near Níjar where Gabriel disappeared. His father
identified the item of clothing as being his son's, and on Monday the Guardia Civil carried
out DNA tests which confirmed that the garment was indeed Gabriel’s.
They say the report of the clothing Gabriel was wearing when he vanished – a red jacket
and black Adidas tracksuit bottoms – did not mention a vest, although as it is an
undergarment, it may have been forgotten.
The search has now become more 'selective', say inspectors, who have cordoned off the
area around the reservoir pools and water treatment plant in the Las Negras sewage
works close to the footpath which leads to the San Pedro bay.
This time, the search continued in the dark, and detectives were out all night trying to find
the little boy.
They are accompanied by the now-famous 12-year- old Belgian Shepherd Elton, one of the
Guardia Civil's 550 sniffer dogs, who was key in helping to find the body of Madrid sixth-
former Diana Quer on New Year's Eve in a disused warehouse in Galicia, where she had
been dumped after being raped and murdered 16 months earlier.
The Policia Local has announced that road works have begun to upgrade the Avenida del País
Valenciano in the centre of Guardamar del Segura. The thrre-month project will specifically
affect the area between Calle Ingeniero Mira and the Plaza Pescadores.
Vehicles heading south to reach Plaza Constitución now need to turn left onto Calle Ingeniero
Mira in order to get there and vehicles heading north must turn left when they reach Calle
Mediodía. Vehicles travelling down Calle San Eugenio will no longer be able to turn left
towards the Plaza Constitución.
The new Commander-in- Chief of the Guardia Civil in Torrevieja, Antonio José
Leal Bernabéu met the mayor of Torrevieja, José Manuel Dolón, in the town
hall on the 13 th September. The Commander leads around 200 officers and in
his new capacity the mayor discussed security issues for the town.
The meeting lasted for more than an hour and centred around the threat of
terrorism and what can be done to protect citizens. They also discussed the
relationship between the local police and the Guardia Civil and other
organisations such as the Civil Protection. Other topics under discussion
included environmental issues, animal protection and housing occupancy.
The mayor and the Commander agreed that they would maintain effective
communication and have regular meetings to ensure the smooth running of
the service. The mayor presented the Commander with a traditional salt boat.
Officers from the National Police have arrested two people in connection with an alleged
labour exploitation offence in an agricultural and livestock farm in Almoradí. One of the
detainees is an entrepreneur who had allegedly given instructions to employees – usually
foreigners in the country without papers – to hide in the manure heap on the farm to avoid
detection should any officials came calling.
The two are alleged to have committed a crime of documentary misrepresentation and crimes
against the rights of workers. Police were alerted to a potentially illegal situation at the farm
following a complaint lodged at police stations in Murcia, tipping officers off regarding a
series of irregularities within the small holding.
Officers from the National Police began a joint investigation and verified that at the farm
appeared to be committing irregularities in the level of labour it employed. In addition, the
company did not have the required safety equipment which is included in the regulations on
the Prevention of Occupational Risks. Owners were also leasing accommodation to the
workers, which were little more that ‘booths’ located inside the farm, some of them with
‘very little safety conditions or comforts’.
At the time of the police and labour inspection, two retired foreign nationals were also
According to the statements of those involved, it is believed that the employer allegedly used
to hire foreigners who were desperate for work as they had no official or legal paperwork. It
is said that the employer gave them strict instructions on how to act in case of a police
presence, such as hiding in the manure heap on the farm ‘to avoid detection’.
In addition, the farm manager is alleged to have made up an employment relationship with
another person in order for the pretend worker to obtain certain ‘administrative benefits’ for
foreigners through a false work contract. This falsehood was detected by the Office of
Foreigners in Murcia and notice was given to the Labour Inspection Unit of Alicante, which
annulled all fraudulent benefits of this alleged worker.
The investigators have arrested the employer and the person who simulated this non-existent
employment relationship and who was also in an irregular situation in Spain. Both, after
being heard in court have been released with charges.
– Part 2
Continuing with our interview taken from N332 RoadWatch magazine, we explain more of the
questions raised through erroneous posts on some websites, social media and, occasionally, in print.
3º. Drinking water whilst driving. 100€ fine.
The first thing you have to think is; how are you going to open the bottle? You usually need both
hands, right? If you have a passenger and they open the bottle for you or you have any type of bottle
where you don´t need to use both hands, providing that you do it carefully, you can use it, using just
one hand for a short period of time. Remember you need both hands to hold the steering wheel and
use the indicators.
When someone has been fined for this, it is because they were caught driving and trying to open the
bottle whilst driving, or driving with the bottle/can in one hand which it is strictly forbidden. No
police will fine you for taking a sip for a few seconds. Imagine on a long journey in the summer if you
would have to stop every time that the driver wanted to drink water… Please use common sense!
4º. Putting your hand, elbow or arm out of the window. 80€ fine.
If you put your arm or hand out of the car window whilst driving, how are you going to use the
indicators? If you have your elbow on the window whilst still handling the steering wheel, although
this is not best practice, it is not a problem as long as you can drive properly, indicating all
manoeuvres. This fine is applied for those drivers who have had their hands or arms out of the
window for several minutes of driving in that position, not for doing it for a few seconds. Remember,
drivers can also use hand signals, so this can also be confusing to other drivers.
5º. Driving with a hat / cap that covers the ears. 80€ fine.
As I said, we haven´t written the original post. Someone decided to play a joke, including many fines
which don´t exist among other legal ones. Using a cap/hat doesn´t affect the way you drive, this is
one of the weirdest questions I have answered during all my years as a traffic officer. How can
people believe that you can be fined for this?
6º. Eating ice cream whilst driving. 100€ fine.
Traffic Law states that you need both hands to drive so the difference with the water is that you
need to occupy your hands during a long period of time, so this is true.
7º. Driving with objects on the rear tray without them being secured. 200€ fine.
We have talked a lot, about how you must secure the load inside your car, so if you want to take
heavy load in the tray, unless you have separation from the occupants of the car, it is strictly
forbidden. In the event of a collision, or even harsh braking, lose objects become projectiles and can
Remember, only trust information from reputable or official sources, if you have any doubts about
traffic law you can speak to the Guardia Civil officers behind the Facebook page by sending them a
message, visit n332.es, or dgt.es, or consult with a solicitor or other official body.
A group of women off on a hen weekend was dragged off a Ryanair plane by the National
Police for ‘behaving like animals’, in the words of other passengers.
The six British girls, who appeared to be in their late 20s, were already tipsy when they
boarded the flight at Liverpool airport and spent the flight drinking copious amounts of
vodka, shouting, swearing and using sexually-explicit language, and even ended up fighting
in the aisle.
Passengers described their behaviour as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘vile’, saying the women were ‘a
drunken mess’ and had been ‘acting like creatures’. Ryanair cabin crew and the pilots made
the decision to continue the flight to its destination, Alicante, but called the police just before
landing. Officers were waiting on the runway to frogmarch the women out.
After landing, and before the seatbelt signs had gone off, they were already up and dragging
their hand luggage from the overhead compartments, continuing to yell and swear. Other
travellers booed at them as desperate cabin crew tried as politely as possible to make them sit
When the police came and the women were eventually taken off the aircraft as crew told
them to ‘get out’, passengers cheered and clapped at staff and one little girl was even heard
shouting, “¡Hasta luego!”
But the raucous group, far from showing remorse for putting travellers through what some of
them called ‘the worst flight they had ever been on’, was actually proud of their behaviour.
One of them, identified as Emma Yates, wrote on Facebook: “Only us that can get escorted of
[sic] plane by the Spanish police.”
She also posted the status update, in these exact words: “Yes we was [sic] drunk. Yes we was
[sic] embarrassed but eh a group of girls on holiday having fun…so wot not a***d bout wot
people think or say!! Like u aint never done it!!”
Whilst other travellers on the flight felt it would have served the women right if they had
been emergency-landed and returned home to Liverpool, they did in fact make it to their
Benidorm hotel for their hen weekend and proudly posted selfies lying by the swimming pool
with captions such as, ‘steaming!’ and ‘OMG it's boiling hot’.
It’s summer and almost impossible to park your car in the centre of Torrevieja.
In spite of this the actions taken by a frustrated car driver may seem a little
harsh. He called the police to report that a group of women were sitting out
side their houses to take the air in the very place where he wanted to park his
The habit of the Spanish, particularly the older generation, of taking their
chairs outside in the evening to enjoy the cooler air outside, is well
established. The women were engaged in this practice at the junction
between calle Santa Trinidad and Patricio Pérez. They were taking the
opportunity to chat when, according to Informacion, the difference of opinion
is reported to have taken place
From one view point the two or three women were engaged in the harmless
activity of taking the air at their doors. From the other view point, they were
occupying a potential parking space and perhaps even ‘saving it’ for one of
their relatives. The police were called and the women asked to move their
chairs onto the pavement and off the road. They apparently obliged and a
possible conflict was avoided.
This is not the first time that such an incident has occurred in the area
between el Calvario and Acequión. Tempers flare easily as old traditions meet
young blood and high speed city life. And still there is the rest of August to
A busy Easter for the police
Alongside the Local Police and Guardia Civil operates a group called GRO or Grupo de Refuerzo Operativo (Operational Reinforcement Group). They provide extra reinforcement during peak times and were busy in Torrevieja during Semana Santa (Holy week). Over the holiday period, the GRO made a number of arrests and were out on the roads and in the streets in a bid to reduce crime.
The GRO patrolled on the sea front and in the markets. They took three statements in relation to unauthorised street trading, seized 1,754 fake goods and arrested one illegal trader. In Torrevieja market there was an increased police presence to clamp down on theft by pickpockets.
On the roads they operated eight checkpoints for vehicles in different parts of the town and this led to nine charges for the possession of illegal substances and dangerous weapons. In total, 52 vehicles were inspected and 84 people had their identity checked.
There were five check points for excessive speed and a total of eighteen vehicles were reported. The police carried out a security and documentation inspection of 86 taxi licences and 73% of these inspections revealed minor deficiencies in the paper work. In the case of 14 licences, major deficiencies were spotted. In two cases some very serious deficiencies were found.
All the different anomalies have been logged and this should lead to improvements in the taxi services in Torrevieja.
The police have intervened in two fights which included a number of people and lead to injuries in some cases. The people involved were charged with public order offences.
In only the last few days, the GRO have detained three people. The first was arrested for presenting irregular documents for a vehicle with false plates. The second case involved a person avoiding arrest who fled the scene but was later tracked down and charged with not having a driving licence and other offences.
The final arrest was of a man on probation who had barricaded himself in a relative’s home and threatened several people with a knife. After obtaining a court order, the police forced down the door, disarmed the man and arrested him without anyone being injured. The successful outcome of this was due to the coordinated work of the Local Police, the GRO and Guardia Civil.
The ORG of the Local Police would like to thank their colleagues in the Guardia Civil and those who form the Local Police’s regular shifts,for their support.
A facebook user has been issued a fine of 30,000 euros for posting an uncomplimentary video of a police officer online. Last November a Facebook user in Spain posted a video of a police officer who failed to catch a suspect he was chasing. The scene was filmed from inside a car in the north-western city of Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia. In the video, which has now been removed, a voice can be heard seemingly mocking the police officer for being out of shape.
The Facebook post received more than 300 shares and 17,000 views, according to regional daily La Voz de Galicia. However, not seeing the funny side, the police have presented a proposal to fine the author of the post, using Spain’s Law on Public Safety – also known as the ‘gag law.’ The fine could be as high as 30,000 euros.
Some reports, including the article in La Voz de Galicia, suggested that the police also wanted to fine everyone who “liked” the video on Facebook. However a spokesperson from the National Police in Santiago told Verne that those reports were “definitely false.”
The official who wrote the proposal for the sanction only did so against the person who published the video, not for those who pressed the ‘like’ button or shared it or whatever else,” said the spokesperson.
The spokesperson explained that the proposal for the sanctions is based on two legal articles. The first has to do with the “mockery, taunts and disrespect toward the officer, who represents an institution – the National Police force.” Article 37.4 of the law says “disrespect and a lack of consideration toward police forces or public security forces carrying out their work,” is a minor infringement of the law. Those accused of violating it can face fines ranging from €100 to €600.
In the video, according to La Voz de Galicia, those making the film were questioning if the physical condition of the police officer affected his performance. The police explained that the man the officer was chasing was a psychiatric patient from a nearby hospital. “He tried to catch him, but sometimes you can do more harm than good, for example, if the chase ends in a traffic accident,” explained the spokesperson, justifying the officer’s failure to detain the patient.
The police are also basing the proposal for the fine on article 36.22, which prohibits: “the unauthorised use of images or personal or professional data of the authorities or members of the police forces or public security forces that could put the personal safety of the officer or their family members in danger.” This is considered a serious offense and can result in a fine of between €601 and €30,000. “The application of the sanction is not the responsibility of the police,” said the same source.
The police spokesperson insisted that as yet no sanction is in place, but rather a proposal for one, which will be decided upon by the central government’s sub-delegation in A Coruña, the regional capital of Galicia. When asked, the sub-delegation said it had not received a copy of the police proposal. “When we receive it we will study it to see whether or not it should be pursued or archived,” said a spokesperson.
The Local Police in Orihuela revealed that authorities have put officers through an intense training programme aimed at detecting drug use in drivers. The aim of the course was to enable officers to evaluate the signs and symptoms displayed by drivers. Officers covering the city, coast and parishes can now carry out the relevant tests and controls which provide an effective system to detect drugs in drivers who show signs of consumption of illegal substances.
The Councillor of Citizen Security, Mariola Rocamora, stressed the importance of the training course “for the updating of knowledge to ensure a better service to citizens”.
The course was taught at the premises of the Local Police, in Orihuela, and was taken by the officer responsible for training and controls from the Local Police in Elche, José Sánchez; the Deputy Attorney for Road Safety in the province of Alicante, and the psychologist of the Addictive Behaviour Unit in Elche after being approved by the Valencian Institute of Public Safety (IVASPE).
The training “consisted of theory and practice in order to comply with the legal objective of the criminal procedure of the law, which states that only officers who undertake this training may conduct the required tests to detect drugs in drivers,” explained the Councillor. Officers can now conduct the tests at the roadside by which you can detect the consumption of substances and that if it is positive, it will then be sent to an authorised laboratory to confirm the result.
The main objective of these controls is to raise awareness about the risk of driving, having consumed drugs. These substances alter the physical condition in drivers and increase the possibility of accidents, said the Councillor.
Within the practical training, preventive checks were carried out by the officers, both in Orihuela Costa and in Orihuela City. As a result of these controls, in addition to reporting various administrative offenses, a total of 17 positive tests were reported on drug use, a fact that is even more worrying because the controls were performed on weekdays and not just on weekends.
In addition to the preventive nature of the checks carried out, the training officers also made two important arrests. Firstly, that of an individual from Kosovo with an international search and arrest warrant, and secondly a man of Albanian origin with a ban on entry into Schengen territory, as decreed in Italy.
Security alert at Torrevieja Three Kings
Security forces on high alert
The traditional Cabalgata or Three Kings parade, took place on the evening of the 5th January to the delight of the waiting children and their families in Torrevieja. As customary, the Kings arrived in the port area to be greeted by large crowds and councillors.
The procession wasn’t perhaps as unusual or controversial as last year with the customary Three Kings’ floats, dancers, smurfs, drummers, and other musicians. There were no participating animals, as was also the case last year. Slightly more unusual were the large white butterflies, dragons and seahorses that were carried by people on stilts.The parade finished a little earlier than usual and perhaps seemed to be shorter than in previous years.
For those who couldn’t attend the actual procession, the Three Kings visited the children’s ward of Torrevieja hospital in the morning of the 5th January accompanied by the mayor, José Manuel Dolón and the councillor for fiestas, Domingo Pérez. They handed out presents to those with no option but to spend the night in hospital.
In common with major cities across Spain, police were on extra alert to ensure that any risk of terrorist attack by groups or individuals was prevented. A higher police presence was evident around the procession both with additional police cars and armed police officers bringing up the rear along with the cleaning services.
The police were informed at 6.30pm of the theft of a lorry only two kilometres from the Plaza de la Constitución. The lorry was stolen in the calle La Sal whilst the procession was taking place and entering calle Ramón Gallud. This raised security to high alert following events in Germany and France.
Both the Guardia Civil and the Policía Local were informed of the theft of the Nissan lorry with an old number plate registered in Orense. As a result of the notification, patrol vehicles of the Policía Local positioned themselves at important intersections of roads that led into the town centre.
Fortunately none of the preventative measures needed to be taken. However, the town’s people of Torrevieja will feel reassured that in the event of a threat the police here are organised and ready to take action. The truck was later found burnt out on the outskirts of Torrevieja, its occupants having fled the scene.
This year’s parade didn’t pass completely without controversy, however. It had been announced that instead of throwing the sweets as traditionally happens during the procession, those taking part must pass them out to the waiting children.
For those who have attended the parade before, hurling hard boiled sweets across the crowd has the potential to cause perhaps a minor injury. However, comments from onlookers suggested that they considered this a relatively harmless tradition. By whatever means, children still had their plastic carrier bags full of sweets and most would go home happy to wait and see what other gifts the Three Kings might deliver to their home.