23 ARRESTED IN THE CANARIES FOR TRAFFICKING OF IMMIGRANTS FROM AFRICA
"The police operation, with 28 detainees in total, has stopped the departure of eight boats, one with 34 people on board"
The National Police have dismantled a complex criminal organization that organized at least 20 boats from Morocco to the Canary Islands, earning them more than 350,000 euros, after the arrest of 28 of its members.
This has been reported by the General Directorate of Police in a press release, in which it explains that to carry out these arrests more than 150 officers participated in an operation that has been carried out in various parts of the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands and mainland Spain.
The 28 people were arrested as follows:
12 in Fuerteventura
6 in Lanzarote
4 in Tenerife
3 in Castellón
1 in Gran Canaria
1 in Ibiza
1 in Calatayud.
All have been charged with belonging to a criminal organization and crimes against human rights, and five have been jailed already.
The operation has ended with five searches at addresses located in Fuerteventura, Tenerife and Castellón, where 5,630 euros in cash, 17 telephone terminals, computer equipment and various documentation related to the investigation have been seized.
DEPARTURE OF EIGHT BOATS STOPPED:
With this operation, the agents managed to abort the departure of eight boats in Morocco towards the archipelago, one of them about to leave with 34 migrants on board.
The investigation, in collaboration with Europol, has prevented more than 200 migrants from putting their lives at risk by trying to reach the Canary Islands, in boats that do not meet the minimum requirements to withstand wind and wave conditions in this area of the Atlantic.
MIGRANTS COULD CHOOSE WHICH ISLAND THEY WENT TO:
The criminal gang was uncovered as being highly sophisticated and well organized, with people in different locations, as migrants were offered the choice of island to go to, sometimes during their journey.
In this sense, there were members on both sides of the ocean. On the one hand in Morocco, where they planned trips and captured migrants, taking care of their accommodation and transfer to the point of departure of the boat, where they used the current of a river to leave for the Canary Islands.
Here, the National Police has highlighted that the members of the organization, did not hesitate to use violence against migrants if they did not obey their instructions.
Meanwhile, in the Canary Islands the other branch of the criminal organization was established, permanently linked to its counterpart in Morocco.
The activity carried out by its members went unnoticed as they were perfectly integrated socially, since among their activities was the organization of trips, the recruitment of traffickers and the sale of coordinates so that boats could navigate to places located in the Canary Islands, without being detected by the different rescue and security operators.
THEY ORGANISED TWENTY BOATS OF IMMIGRANTS:
The criminal organization managed to introduce more than 180 migrants into the Islands aboard seven boats, being forced to abort another five attempts due to sea conditions or structural deficiencies that impeded the buoyancy of the boats.
Upon arrival of the boats, members of the criminal organization based in the archipelago, were in charge of picking up the migrants on the beach and transferring them to safe locations, as an intermediate step to their final destination. Sometimes these migrants knew in advance that upon arrival they would be exploited for labour.
One of the characteristics of this criminal organization was the optimization of material resources to maximize its benefits: the boats arrived with the migrants on board at the Canary Islands and, once on land, far from leaving them abandoned, the boss returned with them to Morocco to reuse them on another trip.
ESTIMATED 350,000 EUROS EARNED ILLEGALLY:
Finally, the immigrants, of Moroccan nationality, paid between 1,000 and 2,000 euros each in advance to travel in this type of boat, with low buoyancy and no life jackets.
Therefore, it is calculated that the organization would have obtained benefits of more than 350,000 euros.