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Ring ‘smuggled Syrians into Europe via Spain’

Ring 'smuggled Syrians into Europe via Spain'

Police said they opened their investigation in April after detecting the “suspicious” entry of various Syrian nationals at Madrid’s airport. File photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Published: 25 Nov 2014 15:49 GMT+01:00

Eighteen people were arrested in Madrid, including the suspected head of the ring, a Spanish national of Lebanese origin, police said in a statement

“The organisation mainly recruited Syrians who were displaced due to the situation in their country. In general it selected middle class families,” the statement said.

The ring charged between €6,000 and €10,000 ($7,500 and $12,500) per person, police said.

“In exchange for this money they had the right to plane tickets, accommodation in the various transit nations, falsified documents and several opportunities to attempt an entry in case they were detected before arriving in Spain,” the statement added.

The ring would usually take the Syrians to Asia and then a city in South America, most often in Brazil, before flying them to Madrid from where they travelled overland by bus or taxi to France or Germany or another northern European country in a trip that could last weeks.

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