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Operation SAFAR: 9 members of a criminal network in France and Spain arrested.

The investigation revealed that more than 500 migrants were smuggled by plane from Palestine1 to Northern Europe through Spain and France. The network followed a very well organised modus operandi by using particular routes, including via Middle-Eastern countries, East Africa and South America in order to reach Spain. The irregular migrants were accommodated in Madrid’s area during the time necessary to organise the continuation of their trip and the illegal border crossing to France and onwards by car. The migrants were charged between EUR 5 000 and 8 000 for the facilitation, which resulted in the smugglers making some EUR 9 million profit.

Europol supported this investigation by providing operational analysis and deploying officers to France and Spain during the action days in order to facilitate the real-time information exchange and cross-check of the data collected. This intervention was carried out within the framework of the Joint Operational Team (JOT) DUNQETT, under the EU EMPACT priority on the facilitation of illegal immigration.

EMPACTIn 2010 the EU set up a four-year Policy Cycle to ensure greater continuity in the fight against serious international and organised crime. In March 2017 the Council of the EU decided to continue the EU Policy Cycle for organised and serious international crime for the 2018 - 2021 period. This multiannual Policy Cycle aims to tackle the most significant threats posed by organised and serious international crime to the EU in a coherent and methodological manner. This is achieved by improving and strengthening cooperation between the relevant services of EU Member States, institutions and agencies, as well as non-EU countries and organisations, including the private sector where relevant. Migrant smuggling is one of the priorities for the Policy Cycle.