Home Global News 62 Smugglers of Cuban Nationals Arrested in Major European Union Operation

62 Smugglers of Cuban Nationals Arrested in Major European Union Operation


A total of 62 people who were engaged in smuggling Cuban migrants into the European Union were arrested in a joint operation by Europol and INTERPOL, 25 of which were also of Cuban nationality.

The operation and its results were revealed to the public on Monday, July 24, by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation. The investigation was also helped by law enforcement officials from five nations as well: Germany, Greece, North Macedonia, Spain and Serbia.

The criminals took part in activities of migrant smuggling through a widely-used messaging application, targeting vulnerable Cuban clients. They guaranteed to arrange the migrants’ entire journey, including transfers and false documentation, for a substantial fee of approximately €9000.

Exploiting Serbia’s lack of visa requirements, the criminals flew the individuals from Cuba to Serbia and later transported them to Greece before reaching Spain. The investigation has revealed that an estimated 5,000 Cuban citizens were successfully smuggled into the EU, leading to a profit of around €4 million for the criminal network.

The investigation also exposed a criminal infrastructure operating across many cities in Spain, Greece, and Serbia that adapted to the circumstances to sustain their unlawful business.

In June 2023, police officers from these three countries confiscated forged documents, forgery equipment, 18 properties, 33 vehicles, 144 bank accounts and significant amounts of cash.

The investigation was initiated in October 2021 after authorities from Serbia, Greece, North Macedonia, and Finland noted an increase in Cuban citizens attempting to enter Europe using false documents.

Previously, Cuban citizens would fly from Cuba to Russia and enter EU territory illegally through the Finnish-Russian border or fly to Serbia to continue their travel through the Western Balkans. However, due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, Cubans were now being flown to Germany from Serbia.

Upon arrival in Serbia, they entered North Macedonia and Greece by using different routes and, often, criminals directing migrants to walk in darkness with no supplies.

Additionally, migrants, including minors, were subjected to scams, robberies and sexual exploitation for some women who were transferred to other criminal organisations.

The criminal network provided falsified documents or used the “lookalike” strategy to transport the migrants to other EU nations when they arrived in Greece. From there, they either requested asylum or continued their journey to other EU countries like Spain or Italy.

Using the “lookalike” strategy, real travel documents were stolen and given to migrants who remarkably resembled the real passport holder.

On the day of the investigation, Europol deployed three Europol analysts and a specialist to Spain, Greece, and Serbia to provide on-the-spot support with intelligence analysis and cross-match reports. In addition, a group of Europol investigators at their Headquarters in The Hague provided instruction and coordination to the deployed staff.

This is not the first time that such smuggling cases have been reported in Europe since, previously, 15 smugglers were arrested in Bulgaria for the detention of 300 irregular migrants. Bulgaria plays a crucial role as a transit and departure point for unauthorised immigration to the European Union.

Facebook Comments Box
Previous articleSouth African Tourism Shines Spotlight on Nomasonto Ndlovu as New Leader
Next articleAmsterdam Votes to Ban Cruise Ships to Halt Tourist Influx & Fight Pollution
Monte OZ
Monte OZ is a highly accomplished and respected international freelance journalist, travel and active adventure reporter, and leading entertainment & lifestyle blogger based in Africa. With a passion for storytelling, a sense of adventure, and an eye for all things captivating, Monte has become a prominent figure in the world of travel, entertainment, and lifestyle journalism. Born and raised in Africa, Monte developed a deep appreciation for the continent's diverse cultures, rich heritage, and vibrant entertainment scene. His upbringing fueled his desire to share Africa's untold stories and showcase its dynamic lifestyle to a global audience. Monte's extensive experience and expertise have made him a sought-after authority on all things related to travel, adventure, entertainment, and lifestyle in Africa. As an international freelance journalist, Monte has made significant contributions to various prestigious publications worldwide. His captivating articles, insightful interviews, and engaging features have graced the pages of leading entertainment magazines, lifestyle publications, and reputable news outlets. Monte's unique ability to capture the essence of Africa's entertainment and lifestyle scene has garnered widespread acclaim and recognition. With a love for exploration and a thirst for adrenaline, Monte also thrives as an active adventure reporter. He has embarked on daring expeditions, immersing himself in Africa's wild landscapes, and documenting his adrenaline-pumping experiences. Whether it's conquering treacherous peaks, exploring remote jungles, or engaging in heart-pounding activities, Monte's adventurous spirit and daring escapades inspire readers to embrace their own sense of adventure. In addition to his work in journalism and adventure reporting, Monte is a leading entertainment & lifestyle blogger in Africa. Through his influential blog, he offers readers an insider's view of the continent's vibrant entertainment scene, trendy hotspots, fashion trends, culinary delights, and cultural experiences. Monte's unique blend of storytelling, personal insights, and expert recommendations has made his blog a go-to resource for entertainment and lifestyle enthusiasts seeking the pulse of Africa's dynamic culture. Beyond his professional pursuits, Monte is a passionate advocate for promoting Africa's talent, creativity, and cultural diversity. He actively supports and champions emerging artists, musicians, designers, and entrepreneurs, helping to showcase their work to a broader audience. Monte's dedication to promoting Africa's vibrant entertainment and lifestyle industry has positioned him as a respected influencer and tastemaker within the African and global entertainment communities. With a commitment to excellence, a passion for exploration, and a talent for captivating storytelling, Monte Oz continues to captivate audiences worldwide. As an international freelance journalist, travel and active adventure reporter, and leading entertainment & lifestyle blogger, his work has left an indelible mark on the world of journalism, travel, and entertainment, solidifying his position as a trusted authority and go-to resource for all things related to African travel, adventure, and lifestyle.