FRANCISCA Cortes Picazo is 51 years old and admits that for “many years” she was a drug trafficker in Son Banya on the outskirts of Palma.
She is known as “La Paca”, leader of the largest clan in the area and the supposed victim of an alleged extortion by a police chief. For the first time in her life Francisca Cortes has broken her silence and conceded an interview with no conditions attached.
She talks of when and how payments were made to the head of the Armed Robbery squad and his partner, says she is “very frightened”, and finishes with the immortal phrase ”there is a lot of corruption on Majorca, if I were to talk many important people would go to prison”. “La Paca” agreed to give the interview at her home in Son Banya.
Q. These days the news is full of the supposed extortion by the head of the Robbery Investigation Group, to whom you are supposed to have paid more than a million pesetas. What can you tell us about this? “It is true. Although there are those who think the opposite, I have suffered a great deal and am frightened, very frightened, about everything that has happened”.
But why are you frightened? “Because I recorded the extortion on tape and took it to a judge. What do you want me to say?” Did you know this policeman beforehand? “Yes, for many years. Sometimes I gave him information which helped him solve crimes, especially robberies.” Did he ask for money, or did you give him money, before this extortion? “No, never. This was the first time.” Tell us about it? “Pepe (the policeman) told me that a Paraguayan had complained about me and my family because during a robbery in the area we had beaten him up, and that if he didn't sort the problem out we could go to prison for 20 years. Nothing was certain, but Pepe said that if it was to go to court we would go to prison. After that, he told me that he could fix it.....” How could he fix it? “Well, he told me that if I gave him some money he could make sure that the investigation came to nothing and we wouldn't go to prison.” And...? “At first Pepe asked for 400 million pesetas. We argued because I told him that I didn't have that sort of money because of the court case (money laundering), which had cost me a lot of money. But he insisted that it had to be 400 million pesetas and we had various meetings and conversations about this.” Where did these meetings take place? “Sometimes in Son Banya and sometimes in the Plaza de Son Ferriol.” How did these negotiations end? “We came to an agreement and I paid him.” How much? “He asked for 400 million pesetas but it was actually 100 million paid in cash in two instalments.” Do you recall how and where the payments were made? “Perfectly. The first was at the end of April. The lawyer (Pepe's partner) came to the Plaza of Son Ferriol with Pepe where I was waiting for them in my car. She got into my car, we went to Son Banya and Pepe followed in his car. We went to my house, I collected a blue rucksack with 50 million in it and we went back outside. The payment took place on the edge of the village near the bus stop.” How was the lawyer dressed? “She was wearing jeans.. and I really don't remember what else. She took the rucksack, got into Pepe's car and they went.” And the second payment? “It was a week later, more or less. On this occasion Pepe came alone to Son Banya and the payment was made at the same place. I gave him another rucksack, green, with another 50 million.” And where did you get the money? “For many years I had been selling drugs and I know many people. I asked friends for the money and they lent it to me.” You said you sold drugs. Are you still selling them? “No. I have diabetes, I have joined the Evangelist Church and have stopped selling drugs.” For how many years did you sell drugs? “Quite a lot. Why would I lie to you when you already know?” Did you make a lot of money? “Yes, of course I made money, a lot of money, and I got to know a lot of people, but that's all in the past and what interests me now is the future.” When you were tried at the beginning of this year for money laundering, you didn't go to prison but you have to pay 18'000 euros per month to the court. Where do you get that sort of money? “I've already told you, I know a lot of people, I borrowed it...” Talking of people and all the experiences which you've had, you must have many stories you could tell...” “Very many.” Do you think there's a lot of corruption on Majorca? “Yes, a lot. If I were to talk a lot of people would go to prison.” Important people among them? “Of course, why would I lie to you? Some of these people are important, and certainly very hypocritical.” And you can't give any names? “No, as you would publish them (she smiles). If you want, I will give them to you in private and you can write a book. I'm sure many people would read it.” Have you ever been to prison? “Yes, I was given 12 years.” What was the crime? “A robbery. I went to an industrial warehouse with some friends, we broke in and the police arrested us.” Where were you born? “Here, on Majorca, 51 years ago. I got married when I was 14 and when I was 15 I had already had the first of my six sons. My husband died in a traffic accident on the Spanish mainland.” What sort of relationship do you have with your family? “Good, it's always been good.” Do you all live in Son Banya? “Yes, of course.” How do you think people see you? “I have already told you that I dealt in drugs for many years, and I suppose that people know that. I expect they think badly of me. What I would say to them is that since I came to Son Banya various evangelist preachers over the years have advised me to change my ways. I also have diabetes and want to rest....” You know that very few people will believe you? “I suppose so.” You said you know things about important people, we would love to hear more. “I imagine so. But it is something that, at the moment, I have to keep secret. I know, and it stops there. But, further down the line, maybe.....” What do you expect to happen in the extortion case? “I hope that the case is resolved. I have told the truth to the police and the judge. Pepe and the lawyer demanded money from me under threat. I didn't make it up. Why would I?”


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