The assault on the Andalusian mail train shocked Spain in April 1924 due to several circumstances: the brutality of the murder of two Post Office employees , the plot of five young men and underworld characters who carried it out, the suicide of one of the thieves and the summary war council and immediate execution of three others.
The entire robbery was a major fudge : one of the thieves did not put the narcotic intended in the liquor with which they were going to put the Post Office employees to sleep and the thieves left all kinds of clues until they were arrested.
It happened on April 11, 1924, Good Friday. The idea came from Jose Maria Sanchez Navarrete , a former employee of the Post Office and the son of a lieutenant colonel of the Civil Guard. It occurred to him to carry out a coup to steal the correspondence that was going to Andalusia from all over Europe to be later distributed to the colonies of North Africa and Gibraltar , with a lot of money to pay payroll and the expenses of the companies.
Navarrete was then dedicated to nightlife and had contracted gambling debts. His partners were a Cuban named Jose Donday, alias Pildorita for his love of drugs, with whom he had also struck up an affair, and Honorio Sanchez Molina , owner of an inn in Madrid, mastermind and financier of the operation.
But these young men needed a more aggressive executor and they found it in Antonio Teruel Lopez and Francisco de Dios Piqueras , alias Paco el fonda , two underworld characters who had also contracted gambling debts.
On that trip, the employees of the mail car were Santos Lozano Leon , 45, and Angel Orts Perez , 30. The thieves Teruel Lopez, Piqueras and Sanchez Navarrete got on the train in Aranjuez and taking advantage of the friendship of the last of them with Orts they got him to let them into the Post Office car.
According to the initial plan, they were going to offer the two employees a liquor in which Pildorita should have introduced aopiate called pantopon to put them to sleep . But, apparently, the Cuban lost the money with which he was supposed to buy the drug that same afternoon in gambling.
Seeing that the train was advancing and the narcotic had no effect , the thieves became nervous and attacked the victims in a disorderly and brutal way with sea-marching tongs. Angel Orts, more corpulent, faced the aggressors and was finished off with a shot to the chest at close range and another to the face.
The thieves took some jewels and money in a reckless way but did not find the most valuable sacks and got off the train at Alcazar de San Juan, where Pildorita was waiting for them in a taxi to return to Madrid. They arrived at dawn and in the house of Antonio Teruel they distributed aloot that amounted to 40,000 pesetas, although initially they hoped to get a million, a fortune for those years.
The dictatorship of Primo de Rivera was then in its first months of life. Determined to demonstrate authority and maintain law and order, she mobilized the Police and her confidants and took little time to arrest all the suspects, who had been leaving a trail of clues, from the taxi driver who transferred them to Madrid to the night watchman. who was surprised by the movements of that peculiar group at dawn.
Pildorita was later arrested because he took refuge in his family’s farm in Ciudad Real and from there he managed to get to Paris, although he finally turned himself in at the Spanish embassy.
The first arrest wasCarmen Atienza , wife of Antonio Teruel, who, believing himself surrounded, committed suicide on April 24 with a shot to the temple. In the metal tubes of his double bed, the Police found part of the loot.
A special judge named Perez del Rio was appointed, who soon recused himself in favor of military jurisdiction. The summary war trial was held on May 7 and 8 in the Modelo prison in Madrid and ended with three death sentences against Sanchez Navarrete, Piqueras and Sanchez Molina , who were executed by garrote in the same prison at dawn. next, April 9. Jose Donday was sentenced to 30 years and Carmen Atienza to eight years.
The murders of the Andalucia express made headlines all over the press, there were queues of hundreds of people to enter the trial and later they were the subject of blind couplets, a novel and two movies . The Madrid Wax Museum exhibits a reconstruction of the crime in that Post Office car.

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