Marcial Dorado, Galicia’s smartest drug trafficker

“Martial, Martial is the smartest.” This phrase became common in the mouth of the Arousa River when reviewing the route of the most famous drug traffickers in Galicia. He highlighted the abilities of Marcial Dorado Baúlde (Cambados, 1950) to run his multiple illegal businesses, manage his assets, build bridges in all areas, and handle the enormous fortune he amassed, moving nearly 70 million euros in the 1990s, according to Justice. “Marcial da Illa” (Martial of the Island) ended up as his most famous friend, even more so than he wanted to be Pablo Escobar’s Galician emulator, Sito Menanco. Fame was given to him by his friendship for several years, from the mid-nineties, with Alberto Núñez Figo, candidate of the People’s Party to head the government.

In the soccer simulation, the now-ending campaign began with a background voiceover saying something like, “Martial, warm up, you’re out.” It was obviously only a matter of time before the PSOE and Sumar leaders, Pedro Sánchez and Yolanda Diaz, used photos with Dorado against Figo despite the fact that, as he is responsible for asserting, It did not prevent him from obtaining an absolute majority in Galicia in 2016 and 2020, after it was published in Country on March 30, 2013. There have also been pretty blunders by his rivals, such as going so far into parliament weeks after the then Xunta chief took the opportunity to present himself as a victim, or that no candidate dared show photos in the 2016 TVG debate, despite taking them on file.

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Dorado grew up in the world of smuggling tobacco, but ended up getting busted for coke

Dorado was figuratively brought in to play on the second Friday of the campaign by the Galician ‘coach’, Yolanda Diaz, at the Vigo Rally, after Pedro Sánchez had made a more than indirect reference in the debate. The hashtags #quetevoteelnarcodelbote and #quetevoteelnarcodelbarco also appeared, sort of a progressive response to the controversial slogan “Let me vote you Txapote” against Pedro Sánchez.

From the point of view of the right Dorado’s appearance in the campaign is a sign of the left’s desperation, ready for the usual rock crash. However, there is the question of whether the effects will be the same as in the past. In Galicia, there were strong social movements to completely reject the drug lords, however, in at least part of the territory of Galicia, if not in the majority, the view of drug trafficking and its tons of new money was not always disavowal. Nothing indicates that this vision exists in all of Spain, outside of specific places, such as the region of the Straits.

When the Caribbean route through Florida was closed to them, classic Colombian cartel bosses like Escobar and the Cali cartel created a “Mexican springboard” by partnering with experts in moving marijuana across the US border. There is also a Galician Trampoline. Galicia, with its wide estuary-defined coastline, secular tradition of smuggling with Portugal and pre-existing structures for the import and distribution of clandestine tobacco, became the gateway for Colombians to Europe. And so, as we saw in the Fariña series, there was so much money in the estuaries that there was nowhere to put it. Boat pilots, smugglers or disguised oyster collectors suddenly became millionaires, to put Colombian coca on the soil of the old continent.

In the world before coca, smuggling tobacco, in that classic estuarine business considered respectable, was where Marcial Dorado grew up. As the journalist Nacho Carretero tells in his book Fariña, although he was born in Cambados, on the “continent” to be said in the language of Ella de Arousa, the Dorado family settled on this island. His mother worked for Vicente Otero Pérez, Terito, the Grand Principal of the Old School.

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Dorado always opted for secrecy, though it ended up being his most famous picture with Feijóo

Terito, who was a delegate to the PP Provincial Congress in Pontevedra in 1990, days before Operation Nicora, had Marcial Dorado under his command, as a skilled boatswain who brought the so-called “Winston de batea” to the mainland, referring to the wooden units deployed in the Arousa Estuary for mussel farming. In the 1980s, Dorado was already in charge of one of three large organizations that controlled the illegal import of tobacco into Galicia. Carretero, who in the aftermath of Perfecto Conde’s groundbreaking book La conexión gallega described operations bringing huge sums of money into Switzerland, wrote that, in his opinion, it could become the most powerful tobacco-smuggling group in Europe:

“Tobacco is for the old, and farina is the future,” exclaims actor Javier Rey in the TV series, in his interpretation of Sito Miñanco. Having been caught on several occasions with evading justice and spending time, with the other chiefs, in a unique exile in Portugal and beginning to appear in the press as a prominent chief, Dorado did not give up tobacco like Menanco and his associates. It is one of the reasons why it is said that he was the smartest, because he would have been left practically alone with this business. Although he maintains that he never went over that, in 2003 he was involved in the case of the sale of a ship, the South Sea, which was used to offload more than five tons of cocaine. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison for that operation and bribery of the Civil Guard.

Although Carretero notes in his book that the debate continues in Arousa about whether Dorado ever got out of his tobacco place, with the South Sea, the legend is shattered, because not only is he no longer endangered, but there is a final sentence declaring him a drug dealer. Later, in 2015, the National Court imposed another six years on him for money laundering. The court considered it “impossible” for him to move 69 million euros in the 1990s solely through the tobacco business.

The ship’s operation that led to the downfall of this drug trafficker ten years later led him to publish photos on his yacht with Alberto Núñez Viejo, which were found on the log. As he himself admitted, for several years the former chief of Xunta maintained a close friendship with Marcial Dorado, which included trips to Cascais (Portugal), Andorra and Ibiza. But Feijóo always claimed not to be aware of his activities.

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