Nine members of an alleged people smuggling gang were arrested after a joint operation between the UK Border Agency and Spanish authorities.
The gang operated in Spain and is believed to have organised the illegal entry of migrants, mainly Iranian nationals, into the UK.
The UKBA team in Madrid and the Spanish Central Organised Immigration Crime Brigade worked closely together to identify the man suspected of being the main gang member.
This successful collaboration is viewed by the UK and the Spanish authorities as a major success and a template for further joint working to tackle illegal migration.
The nine arrested were five Iranians, one Mauritanian, one Moroccan, one Malian and one Colombian. They have been charged with a variety of offences including falsification of documentation and provision of false documents, credit card fraud, membership of a criminal organisation and people smuggling. It is not yet known how many people may have been smuggled.
Brought to justice
Simon Cooper, from UKBA, said:’These arrests are the culmination of a successful operation led by the Spanish police in close collaboration with UK Border Agency officials in the UK and overseas.
‘The UKBA continues to work in close partnership with the Spanish authorities to tackle illegal immigration and the criminal gangs behind it.
‘Anyone involved in bringing illegal immigrants into Britain should know they will be targeted and brought to justice - wherever they are.’