Gang smuggled immigrants using airport staff

18th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 May 2005, MADRID — The Spanish Guardia Civil has broken up an international gang which was trafficking in illegal immigrants from Morocco.

18 May 2005

MADRID — The Spanish Guardia Civil has broken up an international gang which was trafficking in illegal immigrants from Morocco.

They are thought to have brought hundreds of illegal immigrants to Spain in the past few months.

Police arrested 19 people, 13 of those in Spain and six in Morocco.

Jose Antonio Alonso, Spanish interior minister, told the country's parliament the gang would buy air tickets to countries such as Brazil.

But during the stopover at Madrid or Barcelona they bring them clandestinely into Spanish territory from the airport. 

When the passengers reached the airport terminal, they would get a telephone call telling them how to escape quickly without raising suspicions.

They would then be told to take a taxi, sometimes helped by airport workers.

Some of these airport staff  have been arrested during the Guardia Civil operation.

Once they were in the taxi, the would-be immigrants would be told to hand their mobile phone to the cab driver who would be given instructions where to take them.

The gang would also fabricate 'official' papers for the illegal immigrants.

The operation –c odenamed Samba – was organised by the Spanish Guardia Civil in conjunction with Moroccan police.

They have carried out nine raids at addresses in Madrid and Murcia, in south-east Spain.

Alonso stressed this was an important operation and added the government was absolutely determined to fight illegal immigration and human trafficking.

Meanwhile, the number of would-be immigrants coming from Africa who are intercepted in small boats off the coast of southern Spain has fallen by 14 percent in the first three months of this year, compared with the same period in 2004.

Between January and April, navy patrols stopped 121 'pateras' or small boats, compared with 148 in 2004.

Naval officers detained 2,726 would-be immigrants, 442 less than the same period the year before, according to government figures.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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