Spanish Authorities Dismantle Speedboat “Taxi” Smuggling Ring
This is the dramatic moment the Civil Guard intercept a speedboat carrying migrants from North Africa across the Mediterranean to Spain.
The Civil Guard dismantled the criminal organisation, which offered a ‘complete package’ to transport migrants from the Algerian city of Oran and settle them illegally in Spain.
The operation named Limestone resulted in the arrest of three Spanish nationals who led the organisation based in the town of Fuente Alamo de Murcia in Spain’s south-eastern province of Murcia.
They stand accused of alleged crimes against foreign citizens and of belonging to a criminal group, which also has members based in North Africa.
The organisation reportedly mounted a audacious plan which involved sending up to 20 speedboats, each carrying an average of 10 migrants from North and Sub-Saharan Africa to the coast of Spain’s south-eastern province of Almeria in a single night.
The boats were scheduled to arrive in different locations off the Almeria coast at different times to reduce the chances of being intercepted by the Spanish authorities.
The investigation began in July 2020 with the identification of one of the network’s ringleaders, and on 16th September the Spanish police learned about a convoy of speedboats carrying migrants being readied to head to the Spanish coast.
The Civil Guard sighted 16 speedboats that night, and more were detected by their surveillance system.
The police sailed out to intercept the boats, causing some of them to turn around and head back to the North African coast.
The police learned that each migrant was charged a different price, and those who paid more had bank accounts opened for them or were secured accommodation in Spain.
The case against the three suspects is ongoing and was divulged to the press by the Spanish police on 17th January this year.