On 17 January 2018, Europol supported seven mixed teams of Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) and Guardia Civil in a successful strike against Iraqi illegal immigration in which six individuals were arrested in Spain. The criminal organisation transferred Iraqi illegal immigrants from their country into the Schengen Zone.
The investigation began last February when Spanish police officers found six individuals from Iraq inside a refrigerated truck in Teruel (Spain). On the same day and later on in March they located two people concealed in the same conditions in Valencia, alongside eight illegal immigrants in Teruel, who called the emergency services as they feared they were dying from the cold inside the truck.
The network transferred the Iraqi illegal immigrants from Spain to the UK inside refrigerated trucks. The criminals took advantage when the drivers were sleeping to introduce the people inside the vehicles. They were a group composed of six to eight individuals or families with children and they had to stay in the truck for 30 or 40 hours under temperatures that were not higher than 4ºC.
Spanish police officers carried out six house searches in Spain. As a result, a large amount of documents, several electronic devices and EUR 15.000 plus USD 8.000 were confiscated. Five individuals were arrested in Valencia, alongside one in Bilbao. Currently, the suspects are being interrogated while the forensic teams are performing the extractions of the mobile devices.
Europol has supported the investigation since the beginning by providing continued analytical and forensic support. On the action day, one Europol expert was deployed to provide on-the-spot support with mobile office and data extraction tools.