Spain Nabs Alleged Pilot in 'Dirty War'
Charged in 'death flights' that dumped Argentines into sea
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2009 12:35 PM CDT
Former Argentine navy lieutenant Julio Alberto Poch is seen in an undated Argentine Navy identification photo, left, and a photo taken after his arrest in Valencia, Spain, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Spanish Interior Ministry, HO)

(Newser) – Spanish police have arrested a commercial pilot they say flew "death flights" that dumped political malcontents into the sea for Argentina's junta during the Dirty War, the BBC reports. Julio Alberto Poch was nabbed in Valencia as he was preparing to fly a Transavia passenger plane to Amsterdam.

During the war, which lasted from 1976 to 1983, Poch is said to have been a military pilot at the Naval Mechanics School, one of the junta’s most notorious torture facilities. Prisoners there were taken on “death flights,” in which they were drugged, dragged aboard planes, then thrown from them over the water. Some 30,000 dissidents died or disappeared.