Human TraffickingNews

Dismantled an organization dedicated to facilitating the departure of irregular migrants from the Canary Islands

Agents of the Spanish National Police, in a joint operation with the Civil Guard, have dismantled a criminal organization based in Gran Canaria and dedicated, allegedly, to providing migrants with false documentation to travel to the peninsula or other States of the European Union. Among the migrant users of this network, numerous minors were detected to whom the members of this organization provided falsified documentation where they appeared to be of legal age, thus achieving these, and thanks to the logistics provided by this criminal network, to escape from the juvenile center where they were staying and signing up for a flight.

A total of seven people have been arrested -six in Gran Canaria and one in Ciudad Real- and they are accused of the alleged crimes of belonging to a criminal organization, against the rights of foreign citizens and false documents. There is also an eighth member of the organization, who is accused of the same acts and is in prison serving a sentence for another reason. 

In the operation, three addresses have been registered and passports used fraudulently by the organization, files with documentation to regularize the situation of irregular immigrants, falsified official documentation and mobile phones, among other effects, have been seized.

The organization captured migrants of Maghreb origin, minors or adults, who had arrived on the islands in a small boat and detained them in different places while they prepared the false documentation and all the necessary infrastructure for their departure. Once obtained, they were transferred to the different ports and airports in the Canary Islands, providing them with the necessary instructions so as not to be detected. On some occasions, the organization’s passers-by accompanied them during the air or sea 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 the freight by boat from Morocco to the Canary Islands for migrants who were on the African continent. They also diversified their work, taking charge of carefully organizing fraudulent asylum requests, making use of a lawyer involved in criminal activities.    

The agents estimate that this organization would have organized more than 80 departures from the islands with a profit of more than 100,000 euros.