A GIRL aged three was among 79 illegal immigrants intercepted by boat when Guardia Civil arrested an Alicante-based trafficking gang this week.

Among the illegal immigrants, brought from Algeria to Almeria on ‘premium’ boats, was also a heavily pregnant woman.

Seven members of the criminal group, all from Algeria, were arrested for crimes against foreign citizens and for organised criminal activity.

At least three members were based out of Alicante.

These helped illegal immigrants gain residency rights, or travel to other EU countries, according to Guardia Civil sources.

Other members drove the ‘premium’ boats from Oran, in Algeria, at nightfall for ‘large sums’ of money.

NIGHT RIDERS: The boats intercepted by Guardia Civil off the coast of Almeria

The journeys took place with ‘minimal safety’ precautions and at ‘great risk of capsizing’.

Guardia Civil sources added the boats were of the type used in drug running operations.

Their drivers reportedly drove extremely ‘dangerously’ to evade police capture, which increased the risk to top-dollar paying passengers.

It comes after Spain has been named the most popular route to Europe after crackdowns in Italy.

An estimated 57,000 arrived in Spain via the Western Mediterranean route – double the previous year.

READ MORE: https://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2019/02/06/migrants-arriving-in-spain-by-boat-quadruple-in-number-as-route-becomes-most-popular-into-europe/

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