The Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) has arrested 28 suspects involved in the smuggling of migrants from Morocco to Spain. Police authorities confirmed the incident today, saying the suspects smuggle migrants into the Canary Islands using rubber boats with no safety or sanitary measures in place.
The operation was conducted under the supervision of the Arrecife Investigating Court number 3 with help from Europol which provided support by facilitating information exchange, giving analytical support and deploying an expert to provide technical support to facilitate the arrest.
Smugglers get €350 000 in criminal profits
Morocco has been in a struggle to curb illegal migration to Spain. In May last year, the country succeeded in slowing down the rate of illegal migration between the two countries by cracking down on smuggling networks. The crime however still lingers, probably because there is huge profit involved.
According to a news release from the Spanish Police, the smugglers are suspected of facilitating the movement of 20 rubber boats into Spain from Morocco for 350,000 Euros as profit. The operation succeeded in preventing the high risk departure of 8 of the boats with roughly 200 irregular migrant passengers.
Migrants going into Spain from Morocco mostly do not have defined destinations. The facilitators of the movement provide some temporary accommodation where they camp for a few days before they finally depart to their final destinations.
The route between Morocco and Spain is now one of the main illegal entry routes to Europe from Africa since other routes through Turkey have been closed, as reported by Reuters.
Although the Moroccan government has been making efforts to stop the use of this route, it has not recorded much progress. However, there may be greater hopes of success in future with Europol and the Spanish Police involved now.
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