14 ‘skippers’ are identified and arrested for organising immigrant trips to Gran Canaria
The National Police have arrested thirteen men and a woman in Gran Canaria aged between 19 and 45 years old, accused of being ‘in charge’ of seven boats that arrived on the island, including the one that transported the twins Awa and Alhassane D., aged 9 years old, one of whom died during the sailing from the west coast of Africa.
The 14 are accused of crimes against the rights of foreign citizens, and to these accusations are added six charges of reckless homicide, and in the case of three of the areested, for belonging to a criminal organization, as reported today (Wednesday) in an official press release from the General Directorate of Police.
All those arrested have been identified by the immigrants who were aboard the boats, as the organizers of the trips and those in charge of governing the boats that recently arrived on the shores of Gran Canaria. 237 people were travelling on these trips, 26 of them minors, "without any type of security measures, life jackets, food or drink," stress the police, adding that “three people died during the crossing because of the very poor conditions of the trip."
One of them was a 9-year-old boy who was travelling with his mother and twin sister, and whose body was thrown overboard in the open sea. The mother, once rescued, tried to kill herself by jumping into the sea, for which she had to be transferred to hospital upon arrival to the island in shock, the statement says.
These boats arrived between December 21st and January 20th to the coasts of Gran Canaria, and after being treated by members of the Red Cross, who verified at the time that most of them were in good health, they were transferred to a reception centre designated for identification.
In all cases, the immigrants stated upon arrival that they had paid between 2,000 and 2,500 euros per traveller for a place on the boat, and that they had to bring their own food and drink to survive the journey.
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The agents of the National Police then began an investigation that allowed them to fully identify the 14 of the members of the boats as the organizers of the trips, and in charge of governing the boats. After investigating the corresponding police reports, all the detainees are now placed at the disposal of the competent judicial authorities, who ordered thirteen of them to be put in prison.