A gang of people traffickers who smuggled at least 6,000 illegal Ukrainian migrants into the UK has been smashed by Spanish police.
The gang charged €2,500 (£2,100) for “all-inclusive packages” to illegally traffic Ukrainians across the continent and to deliver them to Britain, reports The Times.
According to Spanish police, the people smugglers had made at least £13 million offering illegals visas, false passports, plane tickets, and accommodation in transit countries.
The illegal immigrants travelled from the Ukraine to Poland using tourist visas, and then were provided with forged documents such as fake passports from Baltic countries or Polish ID cards.
The illegals were then sent by the smugglers to intermediary countries across Europe, including Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain, before travelling by ferry to various ports in Britain. The illegals were then met by a Ukrainian man in London.
Of the illegal immigrants intercepted at airports over the past 18 months, 56 were caught in Spain, 30 in Belgium, 21 in France, three in Portugal, and one in the Netherlands.
The arrests are the result of a two year investigation by Madrid police. Four gang leaders and 111 migrants were arrested across Europe.
Spanish police said the 115 people have been charged with various offences including forgery and facilitating illegal immigration.
Two other suspected people smugglers were arrested in Poland, and a third in Romania.
The police said that the gang begun using stolen passports and ID papers but after some of the traffickers were arrested, they switched to using “extremely high quality forged documents”.
Alexander Kaminskyi, the alleged mastermind of the gang, was arrested at a house in Barcelona where police found at least 100 false Polish identity documents.
The London-based Ukrainian man responsible for coordinating the illegals’ arrival in Britain escaped when police attempted to arrest him. A European arrest warrant has been issued for his capture.