Human Trafficking Hub Uncovered In Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria People-Smugglers Shut Down

Credit: Policia Nacional/X

The National Police have dismantled a criminal organisation that exploited migrants and provided them with falsified documents.

A report published by Policia National on Thursday, August 31 detailed how officers dismantled a criminal organisation that ‘legalised’ migrants with false documents and have arrested four people, three of whom have been imprisoned.

Criminal Network Spanning Two Countries

The criminal network was split into two branches. One was based in Morocco and the other in Spain. Members were responsible for receiving migrants who arrived by boat from Morocco to the island of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. They managed the migrants’ upkeep and their transfer to mainland Spain.

The criminals had distinct roles such as boat pilot, intermediary, or person responsible for collecting money. Those based in Spain managed the necessary procedures to acquire boarding passes and leave the island. They also handled the payments for the transfers and controlled the buildings where the migrants were housed.

Unfit Living Conditions

The network received information from other criminal organisations involved in human trafficking. These organisations informed them about boat departures from Morocco to Spain and details of migrants who had paid in advance for accommodation.

The migrants were housed in properties that were unfit for living and lacked basic health and hygiene conditions. These properties were controlled by the network’s members based in Spain. Depending on the amount each migrant could pay, they were then facilitated with departures to other parts of the country and Europe.

Investigation Outcome

Each migrant was charged between €250 and €400, depending on the place and route of transfer. This fee included their accommodation and maintenance in addition to the trip to mainland Spain. In cases where air travel was necessary, the criminals charged around €4,000 per person. The criminal activities netted the organisation more than €250,000 in total.

The investigation led to the arrest of four individuals, three of whom have been imprisoned. They face charges of favouring illegal immigration, document falsification, usurpation of property, and belonging to a criminal organisation. During the operation, two raids were conducted in the towns of Arucas and Las Palmas, and various information storage devices were seized.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.