A massive human trafficking ring suspected of smuggling Chinese citizens into Europe and the United States was busted in France and Spain Saturday, police have confirmed.
At least 75 people have been arrested in suspicion of being involved with the smuggling — along with the two alleged ring-leaders, 49 others were detained after carrying forged passports at airports in Barcelona, Madrid, and six other cities. Another 24 were taken into custody in France as well, according to Spanish police.
The police, who began the investigation two years ago, are saying that the gang would charge around $53,000 per victim to make fake documents and transport the person into France, Greece, Italy, Britain, Ireland, Turkey, Spain, and the U.S. (their preferred destination, apparently.)
The devices they used to create the forged documents? Three laptop computers, printers and...22 rubber stamps.
So far, there are mixed reports regarding where the organization was based. While CNN claims the trafficking ring was directed from China, the BBC says its main headquarters were in Barcelona. The confusion may be due to the structure of the ring, which had independent outlets spread over various countries.
The traffickers are also suspected of having links with a prostitution ring, and many of the smuggled immigrants have reported being subjected to sexual exploitation as well.