Eleven Bangladeshis have been arrested by Spanish police in a swoop on a criminal organization which charged Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, and Bangladeshis €20,000 each to be transported from the Indian subcontinent into Europe via North Africa.
An official statement on the Spanish national police website said that the eleven had been arrested after a joint investigation with Europol. The gang’s headquarters were in Barcelona, where the nonwhites were given a staging post before being moved elsewhere into Europe.
The police statement said that the network’s operations included a “vast criminal web that spanned three continents, reaching from New Delhi to Casablanca, then to the coasts of southern Spain.”
Video footage of the arrests shows the authorities confronting several individuals in a cramped apartment, among piles of fraudulent documentation and suitcases. The police then go on to march others down Barcelona’s narrow streets.
First, the network fraudulently obtained Algerian visas from the Algerian consulate in New Delhi. The invaders then flew to Algeria, where they trekked to the border with Morocco.
The statement said that with the “cooperation of some Moroccan and Algerian border officials,” the invaders crossed by night into Morocco and stayed at properties owned by the network’s members in the cities of Casablanca, Oujda, and Rabat. They lived in Morocco sometimes for months, the Spanish National Police reported.
Eventually, the network sent the invaders to Tangier or Nador, both cities on Morocco’s northern coasts, for the final leg of the journey. There, the network had partnered with a Moroccan group that sent the nonwhites across the Strait of Gibraltar or the Alboran Sea by boat.
Once in Spain, the organization gave the invaders fraudulent visa documentation using counterfeit seals supplied by Bangladeshi authorities. During the raid, police seized 32 passports, and more than 200 certified documents.