Drug boats used in hu­man traf­fick­ing

Gulf Times - - EUROPE -

Four peo­ple were ar­rested in the Span­ish over­seas ter­ri­tory of Ceuta for charg­ing mi­grants up to €2,000 to take them to the main­land in speed­boats nor­mally used for drug traf­fick­ing, po­lice said yes­ter­day.

It is un­clear whether those ar­rested had been in­volved in drug traf­fick­ing and de­cided to change tack, or if they had merely got hold of the ves­sels for their op­er­a­tions.

A Civil Guard po­lice union warned last month that nar­cos in the coun­try’s south had en­tered the lu­cra­tive trade of mi­grant traf­fick­ing, as more and more peo­ple try to reach Europe from Africa via Spain.

Po­lice said that the four de­tained al­legedly led a gang in Ceuta that took Al­ge­ri­ans who had al­ready ar­rived in the over­seas ter­ri­tory lo­cated in north­ern Morocco across the Mediter­ranean to the main­land.

Po­lice said the gang charged be­tween €1,800 and €2,000 ($2,100 and $2,300) per per­son for the trip, earn­ing a profit of around €26,000 per ves­sel.

“Such were the prof­its of the or­gan­i­sa­tion that its mem­bers found it bet­ter to de­vote them­selves to this crim­i­nal field rather than that re­lated to drugs,” they added.

Close to 40,600 mi­grants have reached Spain by sea since the start of the year with an­other 398 dy­ing in the process, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est fig­ures of the In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Mi­gra­tion.

That’s more than triple the amount of peo­ple who ar­rived at the same pe­riod last year.

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