Human TraffickingNews

Spanish Civil Guard detains 19 people and dismantles a criminal organization that favoured irregular immigration between Algeria, Spain and later to France

The Civil Guard has dismantled a criminal organization based mainly in the provinces of Murcia and Girona that was dedicated to promoting irregular immigration between Algeria and Spain and later transferring immigrants to France.

The organization’s ‘modus operandi’ consisted of capturing people in vulnerable circumstances and susceptible to migrating in Algeria, transferring them to the coast of the Mediterranean coast using ‘pateras taxis’ (high-speed boats equipped with engines of more than 150CV), picking them up from their arrival on the coast and house them in properties managed by the organization in the provinces of Murcia and Almería and, for those who would like, after additional payment, to transfer them to France. The criminal organization was led by a citizen of Moroccan nationality, under whose command it had another 18 people of both Moroccan and Algerian nationality. All those 18 people were organized into different echelons that performed a specific function within the organization: logistics, employers, transportation and economic. 

On the one hand, there was the logistics step, in charge of picking up immigrants upon arrival and subsequently accommodating them in buildings managed by this step in the provinces of Murcia and Almería.  The vessel skippers were 5 people of Algerian nationality, who were in charge of patronizing the boats between Algeria and Spain. As a general rule, they always tried to return to Algeria once they had made the journey to Spain, although sometimes they could not due to the risk of being intercepted back by a patrol boat of the Civil Guard Maritime Service, so the organization itself gave them shelter in Spain until they could return to Algeria on the occasion of a new arrival of boats. 

The transport step was in charge of, once the immigrants had paid the payment for their transfer to France, they were moved from Murcia or Almería to Girona, where there were 7 members of the organization who were in charge of crossing them into France. Due to the strong security measures taken by this criminal organization and in order to increase the economic benefits, each driver could cover up to 4,000km in a single day, when making several trips between Almería and Girona, getting to drive uninterruptedly. for 24 hours. 

Finally, the economic level was in charge of managing all the payments received by the criminal organization, both the transfer from Algeria to Spain and the transfer to France for those who hired it, hiding both the origin and destination of the payments, making it difficult enormously economic research. The investigations, framed in Operation Copper, have been carried out jointly by the Information Groups of the Commanderies of Almería, Murcia, Girona, Alicante and the Special Central Unit No. 3 of the Information Office. The exploitation of the operation has resulted in a total of 19 detained persons of Moroccan and Algerian nationality, of which 9 the judicial authority has ordered their entry into provisional prison. Likewise, cash, electronic devices have been seized for further study and various vehicles used by the organization to commit the crimes.