28 arrested for smuggling migrants in rubber boats from Morocco to Spain

06 July 2020
News Article
Press Release/News

Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional), under the supervision of the Arrecife Investigating Court number 3 and supported by Europol, dismantled an organised criminal group smuggling migrants from Morocco to the Canary Islands. 

The law enforcement operation led to the arrest of 28 individuals, 5 house searches were carried out. The arrested individuals are suspected of facilitating the transfer of 20 boats with irregular migrants to Spain, gaining over €350 000 in criminal profits.

The migrants were transported from Morocco mainly to the Canary Islands in rubber boats, lacking any safety and sanitary measures. After reaching Spain, they were placed in temporary accommodations before being routed towards their final destinations. The law enforcement operation prevented the departure of eight boats from the Moroccan coast. This is a perilous trip, which could have put the life of more than 200 migrants in danger.

Europol supported the operation by facilitating information exchange and providing analytical support. On the action day, Europol deployed an expert to Spain to provide technical support to the Spanish investigators.

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EMPACT In 2010 the European Union set up a four-year Policy Cycle to ensure greater continuity in the fight against serious international and organised crime. In 2017 the Council of the EU decided to continue the EU Policy Cycle for the 2018 - 2021 period. It aims to tackle the most significant threats posed by organised and serious international crime to the EU. This is achieved by improving and strengthening cooperation between the relevant services of EU Member States, institutions and agencies, as well as non-EU countries and organisations, including the private sector where relevant. Facilitation of illegal immigration is one of the priorities for the Policy Cycle.