The Spanish National Police have arrested 64 people as part of an Interpol-led international operation against human trafficking gangs in 24 countries in Europe and Africa.
The operation named “Weka” which means “Stop” in Swahili led to the arrest of a further 131 people outside Spain.
In addition international authorities have intercepted 767 illegal immigrants and rescued 477 victims of human trafficking.
As part of the Spanish part of the “enormous” operation some 18,000 vehicles were searched at the borders of France and Portugal while a dedicated monitoring centre was set up at Madrid’s Barajas Airport where more than 30 flights were tracked as part of the operation, with 5,000 passenger details were passed to Interpol.
Acting on information from Morocco, theSpanish authorities were able to apprehend two key smugglers known for facilitating the transport of irregular migrants from the African continent using rigid inflatable boats and lorries.
Of the 195 arrested supsects, 88 are charged with human trafficking and 63 for people smuggling with the rest charged with document fraud, theft and drug-related crimes.
The Interpol-led operation was also supported by a number of partners including the International Organization for Migration who played a lead role in victim assistance and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime which provided judicial support.
It is believed that several countries also provided intelligence services.