THE Spanish National Police force, in collaboration with Europol and Belgian, French, Polish and British authorities, has broken up a criminal group believed to have helped at least 6,000 Ukrainian immigrants enter the UK illegally.
More than 100 immigrants were arrested at Spanish airports including Barcelona, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Girona, Murcia, Santander, Tarragona, Tenerife, Bilbao, Malaga, and Alicante during the first stage of a joint police operation which began early in 2015.
The authorities had noted that somebody was helping Ukrainians enter the UK since stricter entry requirements were put into place and upped surveillance at airports all over Europe.
The group, whose leader has been arrested in Barcelona in possession of more than 100 fake Polish ID cards and passports, helped immigrants enter the Schengen Zone then housed them in Spain, France or Belgium for a while before sending them to Dublin.
Further arrests of suspected group members were made in Rumania and Poland and three European arrest orders have been issued for leaders who the police have identified but been unable to track down.