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Europol arrests forgery gang

Fatima, a 45-year-old Syrian refugee from the central city of Homs, flashes her passport in Tangier, Morocco, on October 28, 2013. Fatima arrived in Morocco two months ago with her husband and their seven children and lives now with a dozen of other Syrian families on the sixth floor of a building on Tangier's seafront. AFP PHOTO /FADEL SENNA (Photo credit should read FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

The criminal gang is accused of facilitating the illegal entry of migrants – mainly Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis – to and within Europe and the Schengen area, through the production and supply of false documents. It is estimated that the irregular migrants paid EUR 2 000 – 3 000 for each false document. Investigations revealed that the gang had been criminally operating for 10 years.

With the support of Europol and Eurojust, the Spanish National Police, in cooperation with the Hellenic Police and the Belgian Federal Police, have dismantled an organised crime group accused of facilitating the illegal entry of migrants to and within Europe and the Schengen area, as well as producing and facilitating false travel documents for use by irregular migrants.

Eight members of the criminal organisation were arrested, seven in Spain -including the leader of the gang – and one in Greece, as a result of a coordinated law enforcement action day carried out simultaneously in Spain, Greece and Belgium on 28 March 2017. In total, eight houses were searched – five in Madrid (Spain), two in Athens (Greece

) and one in Brussels (Belgium). This resulted in the seizure of EUR 100 000 in cash, numerous documents, money transfer receipts, data storage devices and mobile phones.

Investigation “Yoghi” began in 2015, when Spanish investigators arrested a suspect in Spain accused of couriering false documents between Madrid and Athens. Investigations revealed that the arrestee was a member of an organised crime group involved in migrant smuggling with links in various EU countries.

About Europe correspondent (685 Articles)

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