The Guardia Civil carried out dawn arrests along the Costa Tropical on suspected members of a gang dealing in human trafficking or people smuggling.
A total of 16 people of Spanish and North African nationalities were arrested in Motril, Albuñol and La Mamola as part of a greater police operation that encompassed other provinces.
However, it was on the Costa Tropical where the majority of the gang leaders lived, each in charge of different aspects of their people smuggling operations: getting the money off the immigrants on North African coast, finding hiding places on the coast here once they had been landed and even finding them short-term employment before being moved on.
Each illegal immigrant pays on average between two and three-thousand euros, depending on the type of boat used and the ‘services provided’ this end.
At the ‘luxury’ end of the transport scale, a jet-ski, for example is safer, faster and harder to detect than the crammed RIBs but it costs 5,000 euros. The added bonus is that a summer crossing is even harder as these jet-skis mingle with normal ones used by summer tourists here. Add to that that it only takes just over 10 minutes to cross the 14-km trip because they’re travelling at 90 KPH.
And it’s big business: just this year alone the Spanish coast guards have intercepted 3,366 illegal immigrants, which is 23% up on the same period last year. Now that the warm weather is here, the rate is going to increase.
(News: Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)