THE alleged leader of a migrant smuggling ring has been arrested in Mallorca.

The Algerian suspect, 22, was detained by Policia Nacional officers this weekend.

Investigators say the man is the highest ranking member of one of the most active human trafficking groups in the Balearic Islands.

The criminal gang allegedly smuggled hundreds of migrants from Algeria into the region by boat.

This included 15 people who were found on the Mallorcan coast on September 12, all who were later transferred to the mainland.

Interviews with these immigrants revealed that the captain of the boat, who fled on land before being intercepted by police, was the ringleader.

This individual charged each migrant between €600 to €1,000 for journeys that could often take up to 46 hours.

The man remains in police custody after being charged with being a member of a criminal organisation, human trafficking and aiding illegal immigration.

It comes as 232 migrants were found washing up on the Balearic coast last week in a period of just 48 hours.

These immigrants had travelled on 15 boats, washing up on the shores of Mallorca and Formentera after a perilous journey from North Africa.

Meanwhile, police arrested 40 gang members for allegedly falsifying immigration documents. 

Many of the fraudulent papers were to help family members of the organisation reside in Spain, Policia Nacional said.

These documents allowed their relatives to obtain legal residency in either Palma or Manacor.

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