People trafficking gang in Melilla broken up by Guardia Civil

5-year-old in critical condition after suffering cardiac arrest on football field. Image: Sheryl Grell/Fox29

DUE to the fact that the number of immigrants claiming asylum in Melilla increased dramatically the Guardia Civil commenced detailed investigations.

The result of this review of people trafficking led officers to arrest eight people who are accused of being involved in this illegal activity including seven Spaniards living in the city and a Moroccan national.

The traffickers had two modes of operation, the first delivering passengers in fast speedboats to a deserted rocky area from which minors kept a look out for the police and then guided them to the city across the rocks.

Once they were safe on the streets, the migrants were split into couples (male and female) and told to walk hand in hand chatting nonchalantly until they reached the Centre of Temporary Stay of Immigrants where on a staggered basis they were to enter and claim asylum.

It is believed that at least 13 of these landings took place with each boat containing 10 people who paid €1,500 per person to be smuggled in to the city.

They were told that if questioned they should not mention the speed boats but to say that they had entered in vehicles which had hidden compartments.

The other method of entry was in cars which did have false bottoms of which officers have now discovered six. Each vehicle contained a legal family unit of parents and children to try to deflect interest with the migrants concealed in the false bottoms.

Every car could take three migrants who were charged €4,200 each and once the vehicle entered the city, those being smuggled spent 24 hours in a private apartment before following the same route to the immigrant centre.

In total, the Guardia Civil in Melilla believe that at least 166 people were smuggled into the city, netting the traffickers an estimated €300,000.

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