Spain’s Guardia Civil help dismantle criminal gang smuggling migrants to UK

Spain's Guardia Civil help dismantle criminal gang smuggling migrants to UK

Spain's Guardia Civil help dismantle criminal gang smuggling migrants to UK. Image: National Crime Agency

THE UK National Crime Agency and Spain’s Guardia Civil dismantled an Albanian organised criminal gang involved in smuggling migrants to the UK via Spain, as reported on Saturday, October 8.

The announcement made by the National Crime Agency revealed that the criminal gang accused of smuggling migrants to the UK was dismantled with the help of Spain’s Guardia Civil in a joint operation.

“The network facilitated mainly Albanian migrants through the northern cities of Bilbao and Santander into the UK using ferries and freight shipping routes to Portsmouth, Southampton and Liverpool,” the NCA said.

“The migrants were believed to have come directly from Albania to Spain for onward travel, but were also recruited from camps located around Spanish ports facilities.”

The agency added: “Described by Spanish prosecutors as high-level and well-organised, the criminal gang would provide migrants with accommodation and food until they successfully stowed away for their journey to the UK.

“Each are believed to have paid between 3,000 and 15,000 euros to be smuggled.

“The true numbers who used the route are unknown, but around fifty individuals who made the crossing have been identified by the UK and Spanish authorities and linked to the network.”


NCA International Regional Manager Steve Reynolds said: “People smugglers put lives at risk, which is why disrupting and dismantling criminal networks like this is a priority for the NCA and our partners.

“In this case we were faced with a crime group who were prepared to smuggle migrants in lorries over one of the longer ferry and freight crossings into the UK. The dangers of that are self-evident.

“Working closely with our Spanish counterparts we have been able to dismantle their operation and prevent further lives being put at risk”.

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at