People smuggling criminal network dismantled in Spain and UK

Almuñecar schoolchildren participate in awareness-raising campaign on dogs as pets. Image: Almuñecar Town Hall

SPANISH and UK law enforcement authorities successfully dismantled a major international criminal network involved in smuggling Iranian migrants into the EU.

During house searches a substantial amount of evidential material was seized.

The Guardia Civil’s investigation MARLO focused on an organised crime group involved in facilitating illegal immigration from Iran to the EU and North America. The criminal group was composed of mainly Iranian nationals living in Spain and other EU countries, who recruited Iranian nationals in their country of origin.

The illegal immigrants were brought by car to Turkey and after that the travel continued to Greece or other countries within the Schengen area, taking advantage of the lack of border controls. The illegal migrants stayed in the transit countries until they were provided with false documents so that they could continue to their final destinations, in most cases the UK or Canada. The clients were paying the organised crime group large amounts of money (around €18,000) to be smuggled.

Europol supported the investigation by facilitating information exchange and providing analysis throughout the investigation. During the action day Europol deployed one mobile office to Madrid to support the operation with on-the-spot analysis.

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