A CRIMINAL gang spread across the Gibraltar region has been dismantled by police and charged for the death of four migrants off the Canary Islands on Sunday.

The gang, with safehouses in La Linea, Ceuta, Algeceiras and Madrid, were busted a week before by over 150 officers from the Policia Nacional and Europol.

According to the Europol press release, a total of six properties were raided during operations carried out on March 29.

This has led to the arrest of 20 suspects being arrested for links to human trafficking of migrants through the Straits of Gibraltar from Morocco.

The network was made up of Spanish and Moroccan criminals and operated an intricate operation of transporting thousands of migrants into Spanish territory.

According to investigations carried out leading up to the raids, police determined that the gang would charge a total of 2,500 per immigrant for a place on one of their many vessels.

The immigrants, many of which were minors and young men, would have no safety gear in boats that were poorly maintained and in some cases, stolen.

During the raids, three boats were confiscated between Ceuta, La Linea and Algeciras alongside jerry cans and fuel tanks containing some 7,000 litres of diesel.

Hand guns and mobile phones were also seized.

Of the arrests, many of the suspects have been charged with murder for alleged links between their operations and the four migrants who were found dead close to the coast of the Canary Islands last weekend.

Evidence suggests that the gang was behind the migrant boat that was found drifting 120 miles south of the small island of El Hierro on Sunday, where 23 migrants were rescued by helicopter and transferred to Tenerife, where the majority are in a ‘serious condition’ in hospital.

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