British and Spanish cross-border police operation breaks Albanian people smuggling gang

The operation was a joint mission between British NCA and Spanish Guardia Civil

An international police effort between officers in the UK and Spain dismantled a people smuggling gang that brought Albanian migrants from Spain to the UK. Police arrested seven people on suspicion of people smuggling.

Police explained that the human trafficking gang smuggled mainly Albanian migrants from ports in the north of Spain including Bilbao and Santander, into the UK by ferry. British and Spanish authorities identified at least 50 people who had been smuggled using the route, but admitted the true number could be higher.

Most migrants came directly from Albania to Spain but others had been recruited from camps near to ports. Migrants had been charged between €3000 and €15,000 to be smuggled into the UK.

Police arrested seven men in Spain, including two of the gang’s leaders. Items were also seized during the investigation including phones, computers, bank cards, identity cards and passports.

National Crime Agency representative, Steve Reynolds, said that the joint operation with Spanish Guardia Civil police meant authorities had been able to “dismantle their operation and prevent further lives being put at risk”.

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