Police have arrested 51 people in Spain and 24 in France after a two-year investigation into a Barcelona-based organization that was allegedly smuggling Chinese migrants into the US and Europe. Authorities say the gang charged $53,000 per person for "false identities and transport [for] Chinese citizens to the United States and countries such as Spain, France, Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Turkey," Sky News reports. According to Spain's Interior Ministry, some of the people smuggled in ended up in the sex trade.
The gang's "kingpin" lived in China, but had multiple cells in different countries in what was a "perfectly structured, hierarchical organization," according to police. The traffickers would take their clients through a different route from China every time, but would always land in Barcelona before going on to their final destination. Also seized in the operation: 81 fake passports, the equipment to make them—computers, scanners, fake customs stamps— cellphones, bundles of yuan and euros, and a handgun.