A MAJOR investigation to crack down on gangs smuggling into the UK via Spain has resulted in the arrests of 19 people.

The UK Border Agency and the Guardia Civil made the arrests as part of Operation MARLO following raids on addresses in Alicante, Madrid, London and Hull.

Those arrested were suspected of assisting Iranian migrants to reach the UK from mainland Europe.

The gang is said to have been contacted by up to 100 potential customers per month and was charging clients up to €18,000 each.

Simon Cooper, from the UK Border Agency covering Spain, said: “Spain is becoming a hard place for organised immigration crime to operate and criminals now know that they will be disrupted and brought to justice.”

Anyone with information about immigration crime can pass it on via Crimestoppers at http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/

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