Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hechos Probados....The Dynamite Trail

Most, if not all, of the dynamite used in the train bombs, and all of that which was used in the Leganés explosion, together with that retrieved from the wreckage of that explosion, came from the Conchita Mine in the municipality of Belmonte de Miranda, Asturias. The mine belonged to the company Caolines de Merillés S.A.

In September 2001 Rafa Zouhier and Antonio Toro coincided in the prison of Villabona in Asturias where they became friends. Once both were in liberty, Toro presented Zouhier to his brother-in-law José Emilio Suárez Trashorras. During his time in prison Rafa Zouhier agreed to become an informer for the Guardia Civil, his contacts were two officer using the names “Rafa” and “Victor”. At the end of January 2003, or the beginning of February of the same year, Zouhier told his contacts that Antonio Toro was attempting to sell 150 kilograms of explosives supplied by Trashorras who had once worked in the Mina Conchita. The Guardia Civil officers regarded this information as reliable and investigated the whereabouts of Toro. Zouhier was asked to obtain a sample of the explosive, which he did by convincing Toro and Trashorras that he had some possible buyers in Madrid. This sample was handed to the Guardia Civil, who destroyed it after receiving the opinion of an explosives specialist.

Zouhier did not discuss the issue of explosives again with his Guardia Civil controllers until after the 11th March 2004, despite the fact that he carried out the role of intermediary for the supply of detonators and explosives between Trashorras and Jamal Ahmidam. As part of this process, he had in his possession in October 2003 an industrial detonator supplied by Toro and Trashorras. This detonator exploded whilst being manipulated by Zouhier in the presence of the accused Rachid Aglif, causing injuries to both.

At some point between the end of October 2003 and the beginning of January 2004, Jamal Ahmidam and Trashorras agreed the supply of dynamite from mines located in Asturias. Rachid Aglif was aware of this negotiation, it is not established that Antonio or Carmen Toro intervened in this process, although they may have been aware of it. Ahmidam and Trashorras held at least two meetings in hamburger restaurants in Madrid, as well as an unknown number of other meetings in Avilés (where Trashorras lived) and numerous contacts by telephone.

On the 28th October 2003, they met in the McDonalds restaurant in the Madrid district of Carabanchel. Also present were Aglif and Zouhier. Seated at a separate table were Carmen Toro and Pablo Alvarez Moya. During this meeting Aglif asked Trashorras to supply 60 kilos of dynamite. In the middle of November a second meeting was held in a different branch of McDonalds in Moncloa, also in Madrid. This meeting was attended by Ahmidam, Trashorras, Zouhier, Aglif, and both Antonio and Carmen Toro. Part of the discussion concerned a debt from hashish trafficking, without it being clear whether this formed part of the deal on the dynamite.

Footnote: Trashorras has ended up taking virtually all the blame for the dynamite deal, whilst others involved have either been absolved or given light sentences. The Guardia Civil does not come out of the case looking good, they had the opportunity to deal with explosives trafficking in the region and they didn't do it. Which is not to say they would have prevented the bombings from occurring, but they could at the very least have closed off an easy supply of illegal explosives.

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