Undercover operation reveals human trafficking ring smuggling migrants

by Lorraine Williamson
smuggling ring dismantled

The Policia Nacional have successfully dismantled a criminal organisation operating in Tarragona. The group were specialising in smuggling migrants hidden within trucks across the maritime border to Algeciras.

The operation, culminating in the arrest of eleven individuals, exposed a highly sophisticated network. This group provided falsified documents to migrants in Tangier, enabling them to board commercial ships bound for Spain. Once inside the country, the migrants were concealed in modified trucks, each capable of transporting up to five individuals. The criminal ring demanded exorbitant fees, ranging from €8,000 to €14,000, based on various factors such as the hiding location, the quality of falsified documents, and the migrants’ final destination.

Modus operandi: Smuggling migrants in plain sight

The criminal network, rooted in Tarragona, meticulously orchestrated the migrants’ journey. Initially, the organisation supplied counterfeit Spanish documents to migrants in Tangier, facilitating their boarding onto commercial ships headed for Spain. Once on board, migrants were discreetly stowed away in specially modified trucks. These vehicles were ingeniously equipped with hidden compartments near the engine or within the cabins, ensuring that the migrants remained undetected during border crossings.

The traffickers employed a tiered pricing system, charging migrants varying sums based on the intricacy of their smuggling operation. Factors such as the chosen hiding spot within the truck, the authenticity of the documents provided, and the ultimate destination within Spain influenced the price, which could soar up to €14,000.

Cogesa Expats

Operation culmination: Arrests and legal action

The extensive police investigation reached its climax with the arrest of eleven individuals in Algeciras, Tarragona, and Madrid. Consequently, these suspects face charges related to organised crime, aiding illegal immigration, and document forgery. Police executed five search warrants in Tarragona and Reus, uncovering vital evidence linked to the ongoing investigation.

Moreover, the ringleader of the organisation, responsible for masterminding this intricate operation, has been incarcerated.

Also read: Record number of migrants reach Canary Islands

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