Sunday, 10 December 2023
More than 30 north African gang members have been arrested by Spain's National Police force for falsely obtaining residency permits in Malaga, Jaén and Cordoba provinces. Officers from border force group at the Jaén provincial headquarters have detained 32 people in Pozo Alcón, Jaén, Cordoba and Malaga, for alleged membership of a criminal organisation that facilitated illegal migration into Spain, and for fraudulently obtaining residence and work permits for the migrants after an arranged marriage.
According to the force, those arrested organised marriages of convenience between Moroccan and north African citizens and Spanish women. The ringleader, a 43-year-old north African citizen, has a long criminal record for people smuggling, faking documents, and membership of a criminal organisation.
The investigation began in February, after officers from the provincial HQ noticed several applications for residence permits, which were suspected to have been made after marriages of convenience, also dubbed “white” marriages. The huge age difference between the couples caught the officials’ attention.
The criminal organisation was based mainly in the Jaén town of Pozo Alcón and in the provincial capital, although it also operated in Cordoba and Malaga.
The modus operandi used by the gang consisted of attracting Spanish citizens, the vast majority being women residing in the town of Cordoba, who were paid approximately 400 euros to register a migrant as a domestic partner in the Cordoba registry.
Then the gang obtained the rest of the documents for the granting of a residence permit in Spain, such as false registration certificates, false social security documents, and false medical insurance documents, for which the migrants were charged up to 5,000 euros.
From the initial investigations and after an exhaustive analysis of the documentation by the officers, they verified how the Spanish citizens who granted the status of European community citizen to the applicants for residence permits in Spain, had previously been domestic partners with other north African citizens. Many of the women had previously been arrested in 2016 for similar illegal activities.
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