A HUMAN-trafficking operation has been smashed by Policia Nacional and Europol in Spain.
Hundreds of desperate refugees were allegedly transported by the gang from Morocco into mainland Spain via Lanzarote and Gran Canaria.
At least €75,000 was made ‘by profiting in human misery’, sources said.
A total of 19 people suspected to be involved in the trafficking ring have been detained in Lanzarote (10), Murcia (2), Cadiz (2), Almeria (1), Granada (1), Huesca (1), Madrid (1) and Malaga (1).
Investigations began after members of the public reported seeing suspicious activity at ports in the Canaries.
Police soon identified and began tracking two separate gangs, one in Morocco and another in Spain.
The Moroccan group planned and organised the boat trips after recruiting hundreds of undocumented people desperate to leave the country – charging up to €1,500 for the journey.
The Spanish operation, run mostly out of Lanzarote, provided the boats and other equipment.
The investigation, involving more than 70 officers, ended in the arrest of 17 Moroccans and two Spaniards for belonging to a criminal organisation, abuse of human rights, money laundering and falsification of documents.