Spanish police take down people-smuggling ring

A people smuggling ring responsible for trafficking hundreds of migrants into the European Union has been broken up by Spanish police, authorities confirmed on Thursday (November 4).

Police images showed how 77 people, including four children, were crammed into a filthy cargo compartment of a small truck that was intercepted at the border between Bosnia and Croatia.

Francisco Davila Gutierrez is the head of the illegal immigration unit with Spain's national police force:

"The investigation focused on the activities of a Spanish organization, settled in the Zaragoza area, dedicated to smuggling Pakistani nationals into the Schengen area. / They did this through vans and little trucks where they put between 60 and 80 people in a space of no more than 7 cubic meters. "

The months-long investigation involved agencies in seven countries.

Members of the gang escorted migrants on foot from a Bosnian refugee camp over the mountainous border with Croatia where they were loaded onto the trucks until reaching Slovenia or Italy.

Once inside the EU, they were transferred to other countries.

Migrants were charged between three and a half thousand and nine thousand dollars per trip.

The group's leader was arrested in Romania, before being transferred to Spain.

A further 15 people were arrested as a result of the operation, 12 of them in Spain, police said.

Police were first alerted to the operation in 2020, when a Spanish truck driver was arrested in Slovenia with 53 Pakistani migrants hidden aboard.

Authorities estimate the group earned at least 2.3 million dollars from smuggling around 400 people into the EU in recent months, but said the total would be much higher as they had been operating undetected for years.

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