Police arrest 26 for smuggling Algerians into Spain

Migrants sit atop a border fence separating Morocco from the north African Spanish enclave of Melilla in an attempt to jump. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 03 February 2020

Police arrest 26 for smuggling Algerians into Spain

  • Spain is one of the main gateways to Europe for migrants coming from Africa
  • The figures have fallen since Morocco stepped up its fight against irregular migration in coordination with European and Spanish authorities

MADRID: Spanish police on Monday said they had arrested 26 suspected smugglers who brought more than 900 migrants to Spain last year, mostly from Algeria, charging 2,500 euros ($2,800) per person.
The network, which was based in Algeria and the southeastern Spanish provinces of Alicante and Almeria, used powerful speedboats which set out from the northern port of Oran and crossed the western Mediterranean in three hours, a police statement said.
It also ran a route between Tangiers in northern Morocca and the southern Spanish port of Algeciras.
“Each immigrant had to pay the organization between 2,000 and 2,500 euros for the crossing” and another 500 euros to be transported by car to cities in southern and eastern Spain “where they stayed with family and friends,” it said.
If they failed to stump up the full payment, they were dumped along the way or held hostage until their families covered the amount owed in a business which earned the network “more than 1.5 million euros” last year, the police said.
The detainees, whose nationality was not given, were mainly rounded up during six raids in Almeria and Alicante during which police also confiscated 17 vehicles.
Spain is one of the main gateways to Europe for migrants coming from Africa, with some 26,168 people arriving by sea in 2019, interior ministry figures show.
But overall, the numbers coming by sea have fallen significantly, down 54.5 percent on 57,498 who made the journey a year earlier.
The figures have fallen since Morocco stepped up its fight against irregular migration in coordination with European and Spanish authorities in a move which has pushed those desperate to reach Europe to seek out other routes, notably via Algeria.

Related


Turkey replaces transport minister — Official Gazette

Updated 28 March 2020

Turkey replaces transport minister — Official Gazette

ANKARA: Turkish Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan has been removed from his post by President Tayyip Erdogan, according to a decree published on the Official Gazette early on Saturday.
Adil Karaismailoglu has been appointed as the new minister, the decree said. It did not provide a reason for the change or any further details. A spokesman for the ministry confirmed the move, but did not provide details.
Turhan, a former head of Turkey’s Railroads Directorate and chief adviser to the president, was appointed minister by Erdogan on in July 2018.
Karaismailoglu was appointed deputy transport minister last year.