Seven arrests for extorting migrants

by Lorraine Williamson
extorting migrants

CASTILLA LA-MANCHA – The Guardia Civil have arrested seven people for extorting migrants in an irregular situation and profiting from them.

The detainees offered migrants false employment contracts in exchange for payments of €8,000 to €12,000 for jobs working on farms.

They took advantage of the vulnerable situation of the migrants and provided them with accommodation in homes in Madrigueras (Albacete). They were told the “plan” was to later regularise their situation through an arraigo (roots) procedure.

Once the victims were settled in the town, the criminal network organised false documentation for other foreign citizens in a regular situation so that they could work on farms, usurping their identity. Thus avoiding detection by employers, security forces and bodies, and labour inspectors.

During the time the migrants remained in an irregular situation, the organisation guarded the documentation used in said frauds

Extorting migrants

The alleged perpetrators charged the migrants commissions for making the documentary efforts to regularise their situation with the management of a contract upon payment of amounts between €8,000 and €12,000. In addition, each of the migrants had to pay a rent of €150 to €200 for the house. Furthermore, another extra amount was deducted from their salary for the work they did in the fields.

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Violence and Intimidation

Members of the organisation used violence or intimidation against migrants who refused to work for them or did not pay the money they demanded. Some of the victims even suffered injuries as a result of these attacks.

Inspections and Records

The investigation began in September 2022. During the initial phase joint labour inspections were coordinated between the Guardia Civil and the Labour and Social Security Inspections of the provinces of Albacete and Cuenca.

The police carried out three searches, all of which were in the Madrigueras area. Documentation related to fraudulent registrations, rents, irregular work contracts and proof of transactions carried out through money transfer companies were seized.

In one of the properties searched, the Guardia Civil located and arrested a member of the organisation. This man had been wanted by the courts since 2018. Furthermore, during the searches, a clandestine arms workshop was also discovered. Here, they seized numerous large bladed weapons. Moreover, among them were katanas, swords, daggers and other similar ones, as well as machetes or compressed air weapons.

The detainees are charged with crimes of extortion, favouring irregular immigration, against the rights of foreign workers, falsification of public documents and belonging to a criminal organisation.

Also read: Sex trafficker on Spain´s most wanted list arrested in Ecuador

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