The Spanish Civil Guard working with Britain’s NCA say they have dismantled an Albanian crime gang that had been trafficking underage migrants into the United Kingdom as stowaways.
The Madrid Metropolitan obtained a statement from the Spanish Guardia Civil on Saturday, 8th October, saying that the crime gang was busted in Madrid and in the Bay of Biscay, on Spain’s northern, Atlantic coast, as can be seen in this footage, and that “victims paid between EUR 3,000 and 15,000 to travel clandestinely through ferries and ships that departed from ports on the Cantabrian coast.”
They added that the “criminal organisation was dedicated to introducing migrants as stowaways into the United Kingdom”.
The cops said they had arrested seven people so far after operations in the Spanish capital and the Biscayan towns of Santurtzi, Portugalete and Muskiz.
The Spanish authorities said the criminal organisation was “of Albanian origin” and “dedicated to promoting irregular migration to the United Kingdom.”
Seven arrests have been made – two in Madrid and five in the Basque region – the NCA said two men believed to have been ringleaders were among those detained.
They also said that some of the victims were minors and “travelled as stowaways on ships, paying between 3,000 and 15,000 euros to the criminal group for their transport to Britain”.
They added: “The investigations began at the end of 2019 when it became known that there was a criminal network dedicated to introducing migrants of Albanian nationality clandestinely into Britain since 2014.
“As a result of these inquiries, the Biscay Command Information Group, together with the Civil Guard Information Headquarters (UCE3), the Rapid Action Group and the British NCA, have managed to arrest seven citizens and investigate another, all of them of Albanian nationality, who made up this transnational criminal organisation.”
The authorities added: “At first, they transferred irregular migrants of Albanian origin through ferries and ships to the United Kingdom departing from the ports of Bilbao and Santander. The group then managed to expand its area of influence, directing its performance to other European countries through the well-known ‘Balkan Route’.”
The Spanish cops said: “During the course of the investigation, the British NCA (National Crime Agency) collaborated in the exchange of information.”
The police said that the investigation was ongoing and that further arrests could follow.