Human TraffickingNews

Dismantled a criminal organization that facilitated the departure of irregular migrants with false documentation from the Canary Islands

The Spanish Civil Guard, in the so-called Sortie 23 operation, has dismantled a criminal organization that provided false documentation to migrants in an irregular situation to travel from the Canary Islands to the peninsula or to other countries of the European Union.

In total, seven people have been arrested, five in Murcia, one in Valencia and another in Huelva for the alleged crimes of belonging to a criminal organization, against the rights of foreign citizens, false documents and inducing minors to abandon their homes.

The detainees took advantage of the vulnerable state of migrants who had recently arrived in the Canary Islands by boat, offering them false documentation and transfer to other parts of Spain or European countries, mainly Italy, in exchange for a significant amount of money.

Investigators have searched three addresses, in which numerous documents, passports belonging to third parties, money and mobile phones, among other effects, have been seized.

The leader of the organization, who was in charge of distributing the tasks and assuming the most important ones, has been arrested when he was preparing to facilitate, through the use of illegal documentation, the departure of two minors from Valencia to Italy. 

modus operandi

The organization recruited migrants of North African origin, mainly minors, who had arrived on the islands by boat, to then detain them in a place prior to the trip, while they prepared the false documentation and all the necessary infrastructure for their departure. Once obtained, they were taken to the different Canarian airports, providing them with the necessary indications so as not to be detected. On most occasions, the organization’s passers accompanied them during the air journey, thus ensuring the return of the documentation.

The connections of this organization with criminal networks based in Morocco and other States of the European Union were constant, offering among their services boat freight from Morocco to the Canary Islands for migrants who were on the African continent. They also offered any procedure related to the regularization of the legal situation of foreigners who were irregularly in Spain, through fraudulent methods.

It is estimated that this organization organized more than 100 departures from the islands, a high number of those who used their services with a false passport or in the name of third parties having been arrested during the investigation. The benefits obtained exceed 100,000 euros.