40 Billion Centimes Income Of Spanish Network To Smuggle Algerian Harraga!
The Spanish police dismantled a cell destined to organizing sea crossings for Algerians bound for the coast of Almeria in the south of the country, and its income as a result of “smuggling” operations was estimated at 2.5 million euros, equivalent to 40 billion centimes.
Spanish media reported on Sunday that police services dismantled a cell in Almeria, specialized in organizing harraga sea crossings, what is known as the “Patera Taxi” or Al-Bouti Express, between the coasts of Algiers and Almeria.
According to the sources, the number of those arrested during the operation amounted to 21 people, and they were in possession of 50,000 euros in cash and devices for measuring marine distances and locating via satellite, in addition to sums in Algerian dinars, worth nearly 4,000 euros.
The Spanish police services estimated the cell’s revenues from organizing harraga trips to Algerian harraga or illegal migrants at 2.5 million euros, noting that this illicit network organized ferry trips for more than 500 Algerians.
The Spanish coast guards have recently witnessed the arrival of a remarkable number of Algerian harraga, 121 of whom arrived in one day to the coast of the Balearic Islands last Thursday, including one woman.
According to Algerian and Spanish official statements, there is an activity of smuggling networks of harraga between the coasts of the two countries.
And recently, the phenomenon of “Harga” has spread using speedboats, whose occupants were able to reach the other bank within only 3 to 4 hours, which has become known in Spain as “Patera’s Taxi” or the taxi boat, and to Algerians it is called “Harga Rapid Taxi”.
According to the testimonies of Algerian harraga who used this new method of harga, which was published in the form of videos on social platforms, they paid between 2000 and 3000 euros per person, and Spanish media of various kinds have recently discussed the phenomenon of harraga express taxis, and each time they indicate the presence of activity for networks specialized in smuggling harraga, especially from the Algerian coast.
In this context, a number of Algerians have been arrested in recent weeks, accompanied by Spanish citizens, according to Spanish media outlets, and they were convicted by the Spanish judiciary and held in effective prison, on charges of organizing professional sea crossings in exchange for sums of money by speedboats.
For his part, the former diaspora community representative, Noureddine Belmeddah, said in a statement to Echorouk” that this type of speedboat has been used for a long time in several countries, especially for transporting drugs, as happens in our neighbor Morocco.
Noureddine Belmeddah explained that these boats are expensive, and therefore their owners are senior barons specialized in human smuggling and smuggling of everything that is forbidden, and even European countries found it difficult to monitor and arrest its occupants, and often chased by helicopters.