Agents of the National Police and the French National Police, in a joint operation coordinated by EUROPOL, have dismantled a criminal organization allegedly dedicated to providing forged identity and travel documents to people involved in crimes against property and migrants to enter irregularly in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland. The network, of Georgian origin, falsified the documentation, managed its distribution -mainly to Georgian nationals- and established the route that the trafficked persons had to take, as well as the logistics in the countries of destination or transit, upon payment of some 8,000 euros per person. .
During the operation, in which three home searches have been carried out, a total of 17 people have been arrested as members of this, which had branches in different European countries – Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Ukraine-.
The investigation has been carried out under the collaboration of the European police, coordinated by EUROPOL, and thanks to joint work with the Cybercrime Group of the French OCRIEST, with the support of an expert in forensic analysis of electronic devices from EUROPOL, as well as the help from the Attaché of the Georgian Ministry of the Interior in Spain.
They were advertised on the “dark web”
The criminal network offered falsified identity documents and travel documents through the web, the “dark web” and instant messaging applications that they also used to facilitate false documents.
The Spanish branch, mainly based in the province of Barcelona, was in charge of receiving and distributing passports from Italy, Greece, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, among others, as well as driving licenses from European Union countries and from Russia. In turn, they sent money to Georgia, Ukraine, France and Germany, as compensation for the preparation of forged documentation.
They also detected that the criminal activity also consisted of promoting irregular immigration to the United States through Mexico, to the United Kingdom and Ireland by providing falsified documentation, even to people dedicated to committing crimes against property.
Records in Spain and France
Finally, a police operation was carried out that allowed the arrest of 14 people in different provinces -12 in Barcelona, one in Gerona and one in Valencia- as allegedly responsible for belonging to a criminal organization, false documents and crimes against the rights of foreign citizens. For its part, the French National Police arrested three more people in the framework of the same operation.
During the operation, three entries and searches were carried out in the province of Barcelona -two in the town of Manresa and one in Badalona-, in which 2,507 dollars, 2,155 euros, seven mobile telephones, five computer equipment, three forged asylum seeker cards in Spain, a forged Latvian passport, numerous documents from Ukraine with photographs, two manipulated passports in the name of a Ukrainian citizen, as well as qualifications that enabled him to work in the national territory, in principle forged.
In France, five mobile phones, two computers, two agendas, a numbered card for international transfers, two forged Romanian identity cards have been seized along with a transfer receipt for 2,500 euros, a photocopy of a Romanian Identity Card, numerous photos of false documents in the seized telephone terminals and 1,250 euros.