19:50 Nov. 14, 2016
The candidates were selected from Ukrainian citizens with economic problems, family responsibilities and the intention of leaving the country and travelling to the United Kingdom in search of a better future
The biggest smuggling operation for the Spanish police in Europe. A total of 115 people have been arrested, all of whom are Ukrainian citizens, including Alexander Kaminskyi, the alleged mastermind of the gang, who was living in Barcelona with his girlfriend, reports Telegraph.
The immigrants were issued fake passports and taken through Poland and several other countries to Ireland and then to the UK. Police said they found more than 100 false Polish ID cards during the raid.
Questioning of those arrested for using false papers allowed the Spanish police to identify the smugglers as part of a Europol operation also involving authorities in Poland, France, and the UK.
Arrests were made during Operation Kolso, an investigation that was started in 2015 between the Polish Border Guard and the Spanish National Police. The investigation then expanded as links were found in several countries, at which point Europol's European Migrant Smuggling Centre became involved.
The latest 115 arrests were made at 12 different airports in Spain including Barcelona, Madrid, and Ibiza.
The gang charged EUR2,500 (£2,100) for "all-inclusive packages" to illegally traffic Ukrainians to the UK. The smugglers had made at least £13 million offering illegals visas, fake passports, plane tickets, and accommodation in transit countries.