Nine alleged members of a gang trafficking migrants into the United Kingdom have been arrested in raids carried out across Spain in cooperation with the UK’s National Crime Agency.
The Spanish Civil Guard said in a statement that they had dismantled a gang who allegedly illegally trafficked migrants to the UK .
The gang, of Albanian origin, were reportedly using boats sailing from ports in the northern region of Cantabria and the Mediterranean coast to transport the migrants to the UK.
The operation was carried out with the cooperation of the National Crime Agency, the French National Police and Europol, saw nine people arrested, eight from Albania and one from Brazil, and 11 places have been raided.
During the police operation, mobile phones, computers, bank cards, IDs and passports from different nationalities and identities were seized.
In the video, footage from the raids and arrests can be seen with officers breaking into flats, arresting a topless suspect and searching the properties for evidence.
The operation began in 2018 when a group of Albanians were reportedly caught trying to sail to the UK.
Officers reportedly found out that the gang had two cells operating at the same time: one from Bilbao, in the northern Spanish region of the Basque Country, and another one operating from Albania.
The migrants were reportedly hidden as stowaways in trailers, containers, caravans, inside boats and the bonnets of vehicles parked in the restricted area on the boats or hidden inside lorries parked in the same area waiting to be readied to go onto ferries sailing to the UK.
The ports used by the organisation were located in the Cantabria area: Santander, Vigo, Ferrol, Ribadeo, Gijon Aviles, Pasajes and also in the Mediterranean area: Valencia and Castellon.
The suspects have been charged with a crime against foreign human rights, a crime against heritage, false documentation and a crime against public health.