FOUR North Africans are under arrest for trying to smuggle dozens of illegal immigrants into Spain’s Costa Almeria.
The four men were skippering two boats, one with 18 Algerians on board and one carrying a group of 17 Moroccans, which the Spanish authorities found drifting off the provincial coast.
According to police, the organisations the four detainees worked for had started the hunt for people willing to pay to make the crossing to Spain in Algeria at the end of April.
Police said each immigrant had handed over the equivalent of between €1,500 and €2,000. They were then given different days for meeting at nightfall on beaches in Oran and Sidi Dejoud to set out for Spain.
Police investigations, carried out with the support of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), as well as interviews with all the boats’ passengers, led to the identification of the four as the individuals responsible for the navigation and steering.
They have been charged with crimes against the rights of foreign citizens. This brings the total number of people changed with the same crimes in Almeria so far this year to 16.