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7 Arrested in Spain for Migrant Smuggling Activities

During a joint investigation by the Spanish Civil Guard and the French National Gendarmerie, with the support of Europol, an organized criminal group involved in the smuggling of migrants was dismantled.

According to a press release from Europol, the group is believed to have facilitated the irregular transport of migrants to other destinations within the European Union, indicating that the incidence of secondary movements is increasing as new organized criminal groups form in transit cities in Europe with the aim of exploiting illegal migrants.

“Using historical tobacco smuggling routes between Spain and France, the group has been operating for about six months,” Europol’s statement read.

During the operation from October 14 to 15, police carried out simultaneous raids in the Spanish cities of Bilbao and Pamplona, ​​and also conducted two home searches in Navarra, according to

Police officers identified and immediately arrested seven people, including the leadership of the three-person group. It was also found that among the group of detainees were six Moroccans and one Malian.

7 arrested for migrant smuggling in operation by @guardiacivil and Gendarmerie, with support from #Europol and #EMPACT. The suspects used two cars to anticipate police controls; Immigrants had to go out and pretend to walk around in case of checks.

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Europol October 26, 2021

Through the same press release, it was revealed that the organized crime group will target illegal immigrants who have recently arrived in the southern and eastern coastal regions of Spain such as Alicante, Barcelona, ​​Guipuzcoa, Murcia and Navarra. Migrants arrived by boat mainly from destinations in North and West Africa.

After their arrival, the migrants would be transported overland to France via the former tobacco smuggling routes of Navarra and Djibouthkoa. From there, the main destination will be Bordeaux, France, where the organized crime group is facilitating further immigration to other EU member states.

Furthermore, it is believed that the criminal group used at least two vehicles to cross the border. The first vehicle was used to transport migrants, while the second acted as a scout to warn the other vehicle in advance of potential police checkpoints.

The criminal group used at least two vehicles to cross the border. The first transported illegal immigrants, while the second served as a scout to warn in advance of potential police checkpoints,” added Europol.

The migrants were then instructed to get out of the car and pretend they were moving in case of a police search.

In order to obtain such services and to be able to illegally reach France and other EU countries, between €100 and €330 per border crossing was charged. Investigations carried out to date have shown that this specific group of organized crime has facilitated at least 60 border crossings, with up to four migrants per crossing.

Earlier this month, with Europol support, German and Romanian police dismantled an Afghan smuggling network. During this procedure, the police arrested 27 suspects and searched 19 locations.

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