The Spanish National Police has dismantled a criminal organization dedicated to supplying forged documentation to migrants in irregular situations in the country.
A statement released by Spain’s Ministry of the Interior stated that the aim of this group was to assist migrants in securing work contracts within the agricultural industry. Their illegal services were priced at up to €400 per fake document or misuse of another person’s identity, especially if they had a physical resemblance.
According to the Ministry, in a recent operation in the city of Tortosa, 22 people were also arrested, including the organisation’s leaders. These detainees face charges of participation in a criminal group, fabrication of false documents, violation of the rights of foreign citizens, and violation of workers’ rights.
As the authority explains, inspections have been carried out on two residential properties where 30 items and materials have been confiscated.
“The disjointed network had a well-defined structure in which the functions of each member were clearly delimited between recruitment, accommodation, and transfer tasks. Accommodation and maintenance services in homes managed by the criminal network, and transportation to workplaces, were not included in the initial payments paid by migrants, which meant additional monetary outlays for them,” the statement reads.
Furthermore, the Ministry revealed that investigative efforts have established that the organisation possessed an ample fleet of vans and drivers capable of accommodating over 100 people daily.
The same added that the final law enforcement operation, executed in Tortosa, engaged a significant contingent of more than 100 National Police officers. This effort ended in the capture of 22 suspects.
It involved two house searches, resulting in the seizure of €30,000 in foreign currency, two cars, a laser printer, various passports representing different nationalities, and a range of relevant documents integral to the ongoing investigation.
Previously, the Spanish National Police and Europol managed to arrest 19 people in a joint operation – 16 Syrians and three Moroccans. In this regard, Europol noted that these persons have been involved in helping transport undocumented immigrants from Spain to Germany and Norway.
Meanwhile, last month, the Spanish Civil Guard and the National Police also cracked on a criminal organisation operating from Gran Canaria. This network was involved in the fabrication and distribution of forged documentation. They aimed to help migrants with irregular status to travel from the Canary Islands to the Spanish mainland or other countries within the European Union.