Spain’s Guardia Civil busted four rings composed of 16 members of Moroccan origins on charges of trafficking minors.
According to the Spanish news agency Eldiario, the ring, which operated in the Spanish cities of Cadiz, Seville, Morocco, and Gibraltar, smuggled Moroccan minors seeking to reach Europe.
The suspects used boats to take kids from the Gibraltar peninsula to cities such as Barcelona, Bilbao or Valencia.
According to a statement from Civil Guardia, upon landing in Gibraltar, where the children were kept in houses run by the organization, the ring contacted the families of the children to settle on a price of $600 to $800, before transferring the children to other cities.
The ring smuggled the children onboard chartered petras and inflatable boats which were unfit for open water, and at times snuck them in trucks and buses, to transport the minor migrants across the Mediterranean Sea.
According to the Civil Guardia, starting at the end of last year, security forces executed a raid on a camp in Seville, where they found that 253 minors had escaped from the reception facilities in Seville.
The authorities also nabbed a second organization operating in Algeciras and San Pablo de Buceite village in the province of Cadiz. The ring had branches in Morocco.
Authorities also seized computer equipment and marijuana.
The ring members are being charged with crimes against the rights of foreign citizens, illegal immigration, illegal detention and for belonging to a criminal organization.