By Fergal MacErlean • 25 March 2022 • 13:24
Credit: Spanish National Police
The gang, based in Torrelavega, Cantabria, used an international network to conceal the identities of illegal immigrants from the Middle East, National Police said in a statement released on Friday, March 25.
Responding to adverts on social media networks, the mainly Iraqi and Syrian immigrants, paid the gang for false or forged residence cards or passports, police said.
National Police said the fake identity documents were generally from a European country.
The gang, whose leaders operated from Belgium and Germany, also provided airline tickets using several European countries, including Spain, as transit countries.
The gang leaders, who have not been named, were arrested in Torrelavega and have been remanded in custody. Three other gang members were also detained.
It is estimated that the organisation managed to smuggle at least 30 citizens to the UK, making a profit of more than 150,000 euros.
The investigation was sparked by the Royal Gibraltar Police after they detected a person who had crossed the land frontier with Spain with a forged passport for onward travel to the UK.
Illegal immigrants who manged to reach the UK requested international protection from the British authorities.
Others crossed from Northern Ireland into the Irish Republic, police said.
The major EUROPOL investigation also found that the criminal organisation also transported illegal immigrants to the French port of Calais from where they entered the UK by boat.
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Originally from Dublin, Fergal is based on the eastern Costa del Sol and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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