Human TraffickingMigrationNews

Seven detainees in Navarra and the Basque Country for transferring migrants in an irregular situation to France

Spanish Civil Guard, together with the French Gendarmerie and Europol, has detained seven people in the provinces of Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia and Navarra, within the framework of the Poltsa operation, for bringing irregular migrants to France. 

The organization’s modus operandi consisted of capturing migrants who had the intention of crossing into France, who had reached the Peninsula through boats, coming from the north and west of Africa.

For this, the organization was divided into several echelons, each in charge of specific tasks. On the one hand, the recruitment step was in charge of contacting migrants in the provinces of Navarra and Gipuzkoa mainly, although they also did it in other Spanish provinces. 

On the other hand, once the person in an irregular situation had agreed on the price to pay to cross into France -mainly to the towns of Bayonne and Bordeaux-, the transport and security step was in charge of their transfer. 

Both echelons acted jointly due to the strong security measures that were implemented in the organization. They used shuttle vehicles – surveillance functions – to alert police controls. It also made use of routes whose border points were less guarded than others, to have a greater probability of success.

As a security measure, the organization always indicated to migrants that, in case of observing police presence, they should get out of the car and pretend they were ‘hitchhiking’.

The researchers estimate that this organization would have managed to carry out some 60 transfers to France, during the last two months, transporting between three and four people in each of them.

The agents have made several house searches in Urrasun and Irurita (Navarra), where they have seized a total of 25 mobile phones, two tablets and a computer, which will be subsequently analyzed by the investigating units. Likewise, numerous documents useful for the investigation have been seized, such as bank and remittance transactions, identity documents and registrations.

The operation has intervened the Special Central Unit No. 3 of the Information Office and Information Groups of the Commanderies of Gipuzkoa, Navarra and Bizkaia, French Gendarmerie and Europol personnel transferred to carry out ‘on-site’ monitoring of all actions.