Emillio Trashorras

Emilio Trashorras is an accomplice in the March 11, 2004, train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people and injured more than 1,800.José Manuel Romero and José Yoldi, “El tribunal culpa a una célula islamista del 11-M, descarta a ETA y desmonta todos los bulos amaparados por el PP,” El País (Madrid), October 31, 2007, https://elpais.com/elpais/2007/10/31/actualidad/1193822223_850215.html; “Spain Train Bombings Fast Facts,” CNN, March 5, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/04/world/europe/spain-train-bombings-fast-facts/index.html; Paul Hamilos, “Mass murderers jailed for 40 years as judge delivers verdicts on Spain’s 9/11,” Guardian (London), November 1, 2007, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/nov/01/spain.international Born in Spain and a former miner, Trashorras, supplied the dynamite used in the bombings in exchange for drugs. Victoria Burnett, “3 get heavy sentences in Madrid train bombings,” New York Times, October 31, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/world/europe/31iht-spain.3.8131507.html; José Manuel Romero and José Yoldi, “El tribunal culpa a una célula islamista del 11-M, descarta a ETA y desmonta todos los bulos amaparados por el PP,” El País (Madrid), October 31, 2007, https://elpais.com/elpais/2007/10/31/actualidad/1193822223_850215.html. In October 2007, Trashorras was convicted of 192 counts of murder by Spain’s National Court and sentenced to 34,715 years in prison, but will only serve 40, the maximum sentence that can be served under Spanish law. Paul Hamilos, “Mass murderers jailed for 40 years as judge delivers verdicts on Spain’s 9/11,” Guardian (London), November 1, 2007, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/nov/01/spain.international; José Manuel Romero and José Yoldi, “El tribunal culpa a una célula islamista del 11-M, descarta a ETA y desmonta todos los bulos amaparados por el PP,” El País (Madrid), October 31, 2007, https://elpais.com/elpais/2007/10/31/actualidad/1193822223_850215.html; Victoria Burnett, “3 get heavy sentences in Madrid train bombings,” New York Times, October 31, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/world/europe/31iht-spain.3.8131507.html.

Trashorras is from Avilés, a city in Spain’s northern province of Asturias. He worked as a miner until an unspecified physical impairment forced him to retire early. Trashorras subsequently worked at a car dealership as the business partner of his brother-in-law, Antonio Toro.Javier Cuartas, “Los investigadores identifican al español detenido en Asturias por los ataques del 11-M,” El País (Madrid), March 22, 2004, https://elpais.com/diario/2004/03/22/espana/1079910015_850215.html. In July 2001, Trashorras and Toro were arrested and charged with drug trafficking as well as the possession and trafficking of an explosive substance called Goma 2, which is used in mining operations. At the time of their arrest, authorities seized substantial quantitates of drugs, explosives, and detonators.Al Goodman, “2 convicted for trafficking in explosives,” CNN, January 31, 2007, http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/01/31/spain.convictions/index.html; Javier Cuartas, “Trashorras y Toro, condenados por tráfico de explosivos y drogas,” El País (Madrid), February 1, 2007, https://elpais.com/diario/2007/02/01/espana/1170284411_850215.html.

On March 11, 2004, ten bombs detonated in a series of coordinated explosions on four commuter trains between 7:36 and 7:40 a.m. on the Cercanías railroad in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people and injuring more than 1,800. “Spain Train Bombings Fast Facts,” CNN, March 5, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/04/world/europe/spain-train-bombings-fast-facts/index.html; “Auto del 11-M,” El Mundo (Madrid), accessed September 29, 2017, 1, http://www.elmundo.es/documentos/2006/04/11/autohtml/indice.html. The bombs had been placed in backpacks and other small bags and were detonated using mobile phones.“Spain Train Bombings Fast Facts,” CNN, March 5, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/04/world/europe/spain-train-bombings-fast-facts/index.html; “Los autores materiales” El Mundo (Madrid), accessed September 29, 2017, http://www.elmundo.es/documentos/2004/03/espana/atentados11m/juicio/procesados/autores_zougam.html. The Spanish government first attributed the attack to the ETA, but the Basque separatist group denied involvement. Two days after the attack, al-Qaeda released a video tape claiming responsibility.“Spain Train Bombings Fast Facts,” CNN, March 5, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/04/world/europe/spain-train-bombings-fast-facts/index.html; Giles Tremlett, “We bombed Madrid, says al-Qaeda,” Guardian (London), March 13, 2004, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/mar/14/spain.terrorism3. On April 15, another al-Qaeda recording was released in which bin Laden referenced the attack in Madrid.“Auto del 11-M,” El Mundo (Madrid), accessed September 29, 2017, 544, http://www.elmundo.es/documentos/2006/04/11/autohtml/indice.html. However, authorities have not been able to directly link al-Qaeda to the attack. There was no evidence that the terrorist group itself helped to finance, plan, or direct the attack.“Spain Train Bombings Fast Facts,” CNN, March 5, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/04/world/europe/spain-train-bombings-fast-facts/index.html; Elizabeth Nash, “Madrid bombers ‘were inspired by Bin Laden address,’” Independent (London), November 7, 2006, https://web.archive.org/web/20080706184144/http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article1961431.ece. Nonetheless, the principal assailants were suspected to have been part of a terror cell inspired by al-Qaeda, although seven members of the purported cell evaded prosecution by blowing themselves up in an apartment in Madrid April 3, 2004.Tom Burridge, “Spain remembers Madrid train bombings 10 years on,” BBC News, March 11, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26526704; Elizabeth Nash, “Madrid bombers ‘were inspired by Bin Laden address,’” Independent (London), November 7, 2006, https://web.archive.org/web/20080706184144/http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article1961431.ece; Martin Evans, “Terrorism in Spain and were warnings missed?” Telegraph (London), August 17, 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/17/terrorism-spain-warnings-missed/; Craig Whitlock, “21 Convicted in Madrid Bombings,” Washington Post, November 1, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/31/AR2007103100437.html; José Manuel Romero and José Yoldi, “El tribunal culpa a una célula islamista del 11-M, descarta a ETA y desmonta todos los bulos amaparados por el PP,” El País (Madrid), October 31, 2007, https://elpais.com/elpais/2007/10/31/actualidad/1193822223_850215.html. One police officer also died in the explosion.Andrea Elliott, “Where Boys Grow Up to Be Jihadis,” New York Times, November 25, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/magazine/25tetouan-t.html. The court ultimately determined that the seven had been part of a “jihadist cell.”Lisa Abend, “Deep divisions over Madrid verdict,” Christian Science Monitor, November 1, 2007, https://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1101/p07s02-woeu.html.

Trashorras was arrested on March 18, 2004, on suspicion of providing the explosives used in the bombings. On one of the affected trains, authorities found a bomb inside a backpack that had failed to detonate, and tracked him down using the registration number on the cartridge of the explosive.“El detenido por facilitar explosivos a los terroristas se llama José Emilio Suárez y tiene 27 años,” El Mundo (Madrid), March 22, 2004, http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2004/03/21/enespecial/1079889129.html. He was charged on multiple counts of murder, attempted murder, robbery, and terrorism. “Madrid bombing suspects,” BBC News, March 10, 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3560603.stm.

After his arrest, Trashorras reportedly admitted to authorities that he supplied explosives but was not aware of their intended use. Trashorras’s wife and brother-in-law were also arrested in June on suspicion of helping to supply the explosives, but they were later acquitted.Renwick McLean, “Spain Arrests 6 Terror Suspsects,” New York Times, June 10, 2004, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/10/world/spain-arrests-6-terror-suspects.html; José Manuel Romero and José Yoldi, “El tribunal culpa a una célula islamista del 11-M, descarta a ETA y desmonta todos los bulos amaparados por el PP,” El País (Madrid), October 31, 2007, https://elpais.com/elpais/2007/10/31/actualidad/1193822223_850215.html.

Previously, Trashorras faced trial in Asturias for a drug trafficking case related to his 2001 charges. On December 1, 2006, Trashorras was convicted for explosive and drug trafficking along with his brother-in-law Toro and sentenced to ten years in prison.“2 convicted for trafficking in explosives,” CNN, January 31, 2007, http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/01/31/spain.convictions/index.html; Javier Cuartas, “Trashorras y Toro, condenados por tráfico de explosivos y drogas,” El País (Madrid), February 1, 2007, https://elpais.com/diario/2007/02/01/espana/1170284411_850215.html; “Trashorras, condenado a 10 años por tráfico de explosives y drogas,” 20 Minutos (Madrid), January 31, 2007, http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/197094/0/trashorras/condenado/explosivos/.

The trial of those accused in the Madrid bombing, including Trashorras, began in February 2007.Al Goodman, “Madrid train bombs: The defendants,” CNN, October 31, 2007, http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/10/31/madrid.defendants/. He was principally incriminated by two witness testimonies and his own admission that he had known one of the plot’s leaders, Jamal Ahmidan (also known as “El Chino”).“La trama asturiana,” El Mundo (Madrid), accessed October 2, 2017, http://www.elmundo.es/documentos/2004/03/espana/atentados11m/juicio/procesados/asturianos_trashorras.html. His defense argued that he was mentally ill, a consideration which reportedly mitigated the severity of his final sentence.“La trama asturiana,” El Mundo (Madrid), accessed October 2, 2017, http://www.elmundo.es/documentos/2004/03/espana/atentados11m/juicio/procesados/asturianos_trashorras.html; José Manuel Romero and José Yoldi, “El tribunal culpa a una célula islamista del 11-M, descarta a ETA y desmonta todos los bulos amaparados por el PP,” El País (Madrid), October 31, 2007, https://elpais.com/elpais/2007/10/31/actualidad/1193822223_850215.html. Throughout his trial, Trashorras denied that he provided the explosives, an account which contradicted some of his prior claims.“El Chino se pudo llevar de Mina Conchita 600 kilos de explosivos, eso descarta a ETA,” El País (Madrid), April 27, 2010, https://elpais.com/diario/2010/04/27/espana/1272319218_850215.html.

Trashorras’s verdict was announced on October 31, 2007. Spain’s National Court determined that Trashorras helped steal the explosives used in the bombing from a mine in Asturias and supplied the terrorists with the stolen dynamite in exchange for drugs.Lisa Abend, “Deep divisions over Madrid verdict,” Christian Science Monitor, November 1, 2007, https://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1101/p07s02-woeu.html; Victoria Burnett, “3 get heavy sentences in Madrid train bombings,” New York Times, October 31, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/world/europe/31iht-spain.3.8131507.html; José Manuel Romero and José Yoldi, “El tribunal culpa a una célula islamista del 11-M, descarta a ETA y desmonta todos los bulos amaparados por el PP,” El País (Madrid), October 31, 2007, https://elpais.com/elpais/2007/10/31/actualidad/1193822223_850215.html. Trashorras, considered a necessary accomplice in the attack, was convicted of 192 murders (the 191 people killed in the train bombings, and the police officer killed in the explosion when seven of the plot’s leaders intentionally blew themselves up to avoid arrest). He was also convicted of 1,991 attempted murders, five acts of terrorism, and an additional count for forgery of a license plate, and was sentenced to 34,715 years in prison.José Manuel Romero and José Yoldi, “El tribunal culpa a una célula islamista del 11-M, descarta a ETA y desmonta todos los bulos amaparados por el PP,” El País (Madrid), October 31, 2007, https://elpais.com/elpais/2007/10/31/actualidad/1193822223_850215.html. However, he will not serve any more than 40 years, as that is the maximum sentence that can be served under Spanish law.Paul Hamilos, “Mass murderers jailed for 40 years as judge delivers verdicts on Spain’s 9/11,” Guardian (London), November 1, 2007, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/nov/01/spain.international.

After his initial arrest, Trashorras reported at least eight different accounts of his involvement in the plot, although the account provided during his trial in which he denied providing the explosives remains the only official account. He made an informal confession before his prison warden in April of 2010, but it was not until his lawyers filed an appeal in March 2011 that there was any official record of his confession. Even in the appeal, Trashorras maintained that he had not known that the explosives would be used in such an attack.El Chino se pudo llevar de Mina Conchita 600 kilos de explosivos, eso descarta a ETA,” El País (Madrid), April 27, 2010, https://elpais.com/diario/2010/04/27/espana/1272319218_850215.html; José Yoldi, “Trashorras confiesa que proporcionó a los islamistas los explosivos del 11-M,” El País (Madrid), March 28, 2011, https://elpais.com/diario/2011/03/28/espana/1301263203_850215.html. 

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