The guard Juan Carlos Lowry, stationed at the gate of Gaona 2197, he saw the Rambler ambulance coming. It was 10:30 am on Thursday, August 29, 1963. When they approached Lowry, the driver and his companion told him that they were bringing a patient who had to be treated urgently, a circumstance that prevented them from giving adequate advance notice. The back curtain was drawn and a semi-conscious man was on the gurney and a male nurse next to him.
The guard opened the way for them to the Banking Polyclinic, in front of Plaza Irlanda, in Caballito. Just behind (by pure chance?), An Ika truck entered that the custodian knew well: they were in charge of paying the Polyclinic’s salaries: the cashier Nelly Cullazo de Ordoñez, the employee Vicente Bóvolo and behind were the employee Victorio Congo, the Ordinance Alejandro Morel and Federal Sgt. Alfredo Martínez.
They brought a suitcase that carried almost 14,000,000 pesos. About a hundred thousand dollars at the time.
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The blow to the Banking Polyclinic
The police officer extended his arm and handed the Congo employee the money when someone unexpectedly snatched it from him. At the same time the occupants of the Rambler ambulance began firing with pistols and a machine gun. Congo fell dead; also the orderly Morel. The cashier, Bovolo and the police officer were injured.
With the support of two other thieves, who had appeared walking in the place, they put the suitcase with the money in the ambulance and escaped with the siren on. A Valiant car gave them cover.
Later they abandoned the vehicle in Camarones at 2200 with the man they were still carrying on the stretcher. He was not sick but drugged and tied up. It turned out to be the owner of the ambulance, Mario Voda. The thieves had rented it to him the night before.
A robbery that shook the country
The robbery shook the country for the dead, for the audacity, for the loot, because, wow, it couldn’t be in Buenos Aires!
In the Police Robbery and Theft Division, the coup caused A revolution. Officers Juan Ramón Morales and Rodolfo Eduardo Almirón and Sergeant Edwin Farquharson, three rogues in Federal Police uniforms, came and went mad. The pressure was enormous because the journalists demanded answers.
The contribution of the witnesses was very poor. They spoke of a kid with a cute face who shot with the machine gun. Morales and Almirón turned to what was “their world”, that is, the underworld. They spoke with their gunman and favorite “buchón”, Miguel Angel “El Loco” Prieto. “El Loco” gave them a name.
The day after the assault, on Friday, August 30, a press conference was called in the Central Department on Moreno Street. The commissioner Horacio Gargiulo, head of Robos y Hurtos, a scoundrel disguised as an officer, and the inspector commissioner Obdulio Boneiglio, explained that those responsible for the assault were the criminal Félix Arcángel Miloro, alias El Nene o El Pibe Machine Gun, 26, and Salustiano Franco, 33, alias Sagundio.
Hidden in Rosario, as soon as he learned that his name was on the lips of the police, Miloro decided to leave the city. Together with José “El Gaitero” Zarantonello, they headed towards Córdoba. There they rented a villa from a nurse located five kilometers from the city center, in the Marqués de Sobremonte neighborhood. Meanwhile, Officer Morales was visiting El Nene’s lover, Adela Barrera, and immediately knew where to find him. “Right away” is a euphemism for “torture by “.
The Robberies and Thefts requested support from the Cordovan Police. On Sunday, September 8, Miloro and Zarantonello went to the “Las Violetas” cabaret. They went out at dawn with a 28-year-old cupwoman named Ana Carla Santamaría Carbó.
Before one in the afternoon on Monday the 9th, three gas grenades entered through the windows. Miloro, Zarantonello and the girl jumped awake, already with the first bullets hitting the front of the house. The Nene told his accomplice and the girl: “We already lost, we surrendered …” He opened the door, unarmed.
The first bullet hit Ana Carla in the leg, the next in the other and the third in the hip. Miloro pushed her out of the line of fire and was exposed along with El Piper. The clatter of a machine gun followed and more than a hundred pistol shots. When they searched Miloro’s body, they found a wrapper in his groin, tied to one leg, with 13,000 pesos in 1,000 bills. The Piper, on the other hand, did not have a penny.
Where was the money stolen from the Banking Polyclinic?
That same day, but at half past six in the afternoon, there was another press conference again in the Central Police Department. This time, there was the senior staff: the head of the Federal, Colonel (R) Carlos Alberto Muzzio; the deputy chief, commissioner Nicolás Rodríguez; the person in charge of Investigations, Julio Goyes; and the chief of Robos y Hurtos, the ineffable Gargiulo.
They read a communiqué that reported with great pomp about the events in Córdoba. Where was the money stolen from the Polyclinic? Well, that detail was still missing.
Only a journalist from the magazine So it occurred to him to go see Ana Carla at the hospital. His left leg was so badly shot from the bullets that it had to be amputated. “Miloro wanted to surrender, but they shot him at close range. He pushed me and saved my life, “he told the chronicler. “He hadn’t robbed the Polyclinic. He swore to me that he didn’t. “
The Parisian clue to the robbery of the Banking Polyclinic
Months after the assault on the Polyclinic, already in 1964, two Argentines began to live the high life in Paris, as before they had done in Lisbon, Rome, Naples, Amsterdam and London. They stayed in the best hotels and visited the most expensive restaurants and nightclubs.
They changed bills of 5000 pesos (which were worth much more than today) to dollars or used them directly to pay for some of their consumption, for example, those they made in the Montmatre restaurant “La Roseraie”.
Jean Laserre, its owner, received a communication from the Swiss bank that shocked him. The Argentinean consumptions, paid with those 5,000 bills, had been deposited in his Swiss account with the purpose of changing them into Swiss francs, but he was informed that this operation could not be carried out because those bills they had been robbed in Buenos Aires.
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Those two Argentines were the brothers Lorenzo Andrés and Gustavo José Posse, the latter employee of a federal civil and commercial court on 1300 Tucumán Street and both sons of a former labor judge.
The matter went to the Criminal Justice of the Federal Capital, which ordered the first arrests. The perpetrators of the assault on the Polyclinic were exposed, due to the tantrum and rudeness of the owner of a Paris restaurant.
How the assault on the Banking Polyclinic was created
Gustavo José Posse, who was 32 years old, told friends and acquaintances during a meeting at his mother’s house, on Calle Lautaro 22, in April 1963, that he knew how the Polyclinic’s salaries were paid.
He had met an employee of the Social Services for Banking treasury who had innocently given him the details. His friend Ricardo Viera, who was participating in that meeting and who was also an employee in the same court as Posse, became interested in the matter.
Viera and the Posse were sympathizers of the “Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario Tacuara”, a far-right terrorist organization, nationalist, anti-Semitic and anti-communist whose boss was José Baxter.
There were many judicial employees who thought the same way, but the difference was that they were militants.
Posse would receive 30 percent of the proceeds of the theft in exchange for their information and right there they began to plan what was called in code “Operation Rosaura”. The coup at the Polyclinic was planned by two employees of the Justice. Viera spoke with another member of Tacuara, Horacio Francisco Rossi, and for 90 days, all the payment dates, they watched the place, took times and distances and recorded all the movements.
The three groups command the assault on the Banking Polyclinic
Viera adjusted some nuts. I think three groups or commands. One with Alfredo Zarattini, Rubén Daniel Rodríguez and Jorge Andrés Cataldo, who would rob a car whose license plate would be changed.
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Another group, led by Tomislav Rivaric, would rent an ambulance in which Rossi and Mario Héctor Duaihy would go. Rivaric would be in charge of anesthetizing the owner of the vehicle with an injection.
In the third group would be José Luis Nell, a boy who was about to do military service, Jorge Norberto Caffatti and Carlos Alberto Arbelos. For their part, Viera and Carlos Fuentes would be in charge of tracking the money from the treasury. Only Arbelo and Nell would wear machine gun. And so it was fulfilled.
Caffatti and Arbelos were in charge of grabbing the silver. The only problem was nell’s dork. He got nervous and believed that the policeman who was guarding the money was going to resist. Then shot and killed the two employees.
By March 1964 almost the entire group was detained. Nell was arrested by the police officer Juan Ramón Morales at the Rio Gallegos base, where he was carrying out the “colimba”. He had a baby face and used a machine gun. The witnesses had not been wrong about that data. Nell was “the Miloro” of the Police.
Was the assault on the Banking Polyclinic cleared up?
On March 24, 1964, the Federal staff gave a press conference in the Moreno Street Department. The robbery at the Banking Polyclinic had been solved, they said. Now yes. Now yes? Most of the questions were directed to the head of Robbery and Larceny, Gargiullo. Like the rest of his colleagues present, he seemed to be annoying, and despite the success they wanted to communicate, he was more aggressive than usual.
– Which of the assailants looked like Miloro? –Said a journalist, tired of so many laps.
“At no time in the Robbery and Theft Section did it ensure that one of the assailants was Miloro … eehh …” The commissioner fixed a sharp look at each of the chroniclers in front of him. He must keep lying.
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– Some witnesses recognized a subject as a member of the group in police albums (of photos of people booked for a crime). The photo belonged to Miloro. ”He lied again. -Esteee … Also at that time Miloro was wanted for another 10 or 12 robberies …
The official explanation was that Viera, Posse, Nell and the others had asked Miloro for collaboration to do the “intelligence” of the place. It was too complicated a matter for them and they had to rely on a professional criminal, without whose collaboration the coup could not have taken place. No evidence came up on this either at that press conference or afterwards.
Why did El Loco Prieto give Morales and Almirón the name Miloro? I was angry with him. Prieto said that he shot better with the machine gun and that he was prettier.