People traffickers arrested in joint operation between Gib and Spanish police

Gibraltar police worked with the Spanish National Police.
Gibraltar police worked with the Spanish National Police. / SUR
  • Three people were detained in Gibraltar and another 44 in 18 provinces of Spain in an investigation coordinated by Europol

A joint operation carried out by the Royal Gibraltar Police and Spain's Policía Nacional has resulted in the arrest of 47 people who are said to have been involved in peopletrafficking between Morocco and Spain or other European countries via Gibraltar. The organised crime group are believed to have made over one million euros from the scheme, after charging each migrant between 7,000 and 8,000 euros.

The investigation began in November when Gibraltar police noticed a significant increase in Moroccan visitors arriving from Tangier and Casablanca using UK short-stay visas. These visas are not valid to enter or transit any Schengen country so could not legally be used to travel to Spain.

Once in Gibraltar, the visitors were clandestinely taken across the border in vehicles owned by the criminal group, usually at night to make it easier to hide their identity. They would stay in private homes or hostels in La Línea until the next day, when they were given coach tickets to their onward destinations.

The investigation, which was coordinated by Europol, culminated in two searches at residential properties in La Línea and Gibraltar, which resulted in the seizure of approximately 19,000 euros in cash, 12 mobile devices, five vehicles and a range of documentation. Three people were arrested in Gibraltar, and the other 44 in 18 different provinces of Spain for membership of a criminal organisation and human trafficking.