OFFICERS of the Guardia Civil arrested 14 people in Altea in connection with a ring of criminals organising illegal immigration. The police operation was co-ordinated by the
The co-ordinated raids involved searching two houses in Altea in the Placa de Palau, and one in Altea la Olla. The suspected criminals were Iranians whose operations involved attempting to bring illegal immigrants into
The raids were carried out simultaneously on the homes of the three Iranian families at 7.30am precisely, as is standard practice in such operations, in order to gain the element of surprise, and the officers had their faces covered with balaclavas to protect their identities for future clandestine and undercover operations. Door-breaking equipment was used to smash in all three front doors. The occupiers included children as young as six years old and couples. All the arrested persons were Iranian except for one of their wives, who was a Romanian national.
The suspects included six couples, plus four children, who were taken into custody, as well as the mother of one of the suspects.
The searches of the three properties lasted more than eight hours and it was at first assumed by locals that it was an anti-terrorist operation. Subsequently, the motive of the trafficking of illegal immigrants came to light. It was reported that computer records and documents were seized at the properties.
The Iranian families had been living in the houses for two months but officers had been told that they had been in
Sources state that some 1,500 people were trafficked by the gang before it was broken up. The operation was initially detected operating out of
By Paul Deed