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Spain Arrests 89 for Smuggling Drugs and Migrants from North Africa in Speedboats

MADRID (AP) – Spanish police have arrested 89 people suspected of belonging to a crime ring that smuggled both migrants and hashish from North Africa to mainland Spain.

The Civil Guard said Saturday that the smuggling network allegedly used speed boats to bring people and drugs across the Strait of Gibraltar from Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in northern Africa.

The national law enforcement agency said investigators found evidence that 11 speed boats carried a total of 269 people and over 10,000 kilograms of hashish. The ring used radar systems and lookouts on the coast to avoid detection, the police alleged.

The migrants allegedly were held by the traffickers in Spain until their families paid 5,000 euros ($5,600), the police said.
The Civil Guard did not say when the 89 arrests took place. It said another 39 people are under investigation in the case.

The police agency said its officers so far confiscated over 10 tons of hashish, 26 boats, 29 vehicles, 250,000 euros ($282,000) in cash, and 12 firearms, during the investigation.

Ceuta is one of Spain’s two northern African enclave cities on the Mediterranean coast. Spain´s southern coast is a major entry point for illegal drugs in Europe.
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