Europol has announced the dismantling of an organized criminal network that smuggled migrants from Syria to the European Union (EU).

The investigation, which involved law enforcement authorities from Spain, France, Germany, and Norway, resulted in the arrest of 15 individuals and the seizure of a large amount of cash and assets.

The criminal network, which was led by a Syrian suspect, used a rarely used migration route that took migrants from Syria through Sudan or the United Arab Emirates to Libya. In Libya, the smugglers used corrupt officials to facilitate the transfer of migrants to Algeria, from where they were transported to Spain on high-speed boats.

In Europe, members of the criminal network based in Belgium, Germany, and Spain coordinated the sea crossings and facilitated the secondary movements to the destination countries.

Buy Me A Coffee

The suspects charged between EUR 7,000 and EUR 20,000 per person for the trip. They facilitated the entire logistics of the journey, including transport, paperwork in some countries, flight tickets, and accommodation along the route. The “VIP service,” which cost up to EUR 20,000, included special extras such as a transfer from the arrival point on the Spanish mainland as well as accommodation in Spain.

“This operation is a major success in the fight against migrant smuggling,” said Europol Director Rob Wainwright. “It demonstrates the effectiveness of our cooperation with law enforcement partners across Europe and beyond.”

“The dismantling of this criminal network will make it more difficult for migrants to reach the EU,” said Spanish National Police Commissioner Francisco Pardo. “It is a significant blow to those who profit from the misery of others.”

Pornhub Expands State Blockade Over Age Verification Laws, Cutting Access in Indiana and Kentucky