Agents of the National Police have dismantled a criminal organization allegedly dedicated to arranging de facto couples in Catalonia.

As reported this Tuesday by the National Police, 11 people have been arrested in Barcelona and Girona, among whom is the leader of the organization, who are considered allegedly responsible for the registration of at least 77 fraudulent de facto couples between citizens and migrants in an irregular situation through false documentation.

They paid 8,000 euros to Spanish citizens for registering with migrants in an irregular situation, from whom they demanded 12,000 euros to manage registration in official records to regularize their residence. Another 37 people have also been arrested for falsifying documents.

The police investigation that has led to the dismantling of this criminal network has been carried out in three phases, between May 2023 and April 2024. The numerous investigations carried out during this time have made it possible to prove the existence of this network, made up of two groups based in the provinces of Barcelona and Girona and made up of citizens of Spanish and Moroccan nationality.

The criminal organization was dedicated to promoting illegal immigration in its aspect of human trafficking and arranging fraudulent de facto couples of Spanish citizens with Moroccan or Algerian migrants in an irregular situation, using false documents for their registration in the registry of de facto couples. of Catalonia. Through this system, migrants obtained a residence permit as a family member of a community member.

The organization had two different recruitment groups. The first of them was dedicated to locating and recruiting citizens of Spanish nationality who were willing, in exchange for 8,000 euros, to fraudulently register as common-law couples with migrants in an irregular situation.

The other group was in charge of recruiting citizens of Moroccan or Algerian nationality in an irregular situation who resided in Spain, France or Belgium, and who were interested, upon payment of 12,000 euros, in regulating their administrative situation in our country by registering as a couple. in fact.

The network had a fleet of vehicles and drivers specialized in traveling throughout the national territory, as well as through France and Belgium, with the aim of collecting the captured migrants and introducing them clandestinely into Spain in exchange for amounts that ranged between 1,000 and 1,500 euros.

When they arrived, they were housed in safe apartments that the network had in the municipality of Figueres (Girona) where they paid 50 euros a day to live in overcrowded conditions. Here they were hiding the time necessary to carry out the pertinent procedures for their fraudulent registration as de facto couples in the Catalan registry.

The criminal organization instructed the migrants on what they should do and say, the false documents they had to present, and even accompanied them to the various competent agencies. When these procedures were completed, they were taken back to their homes in France or Belgium.

Investigators have been able to prove that the criminal network had allegedly fraudulently arranged 77 de facto couples registered in the registry of stable couples in Catalonia and had detected a total of 63 files with false documentation.

The 48 arrests have been made in Barcelona (2), Girona (3) and in the Barcelona municipalities of San Adrià de Besós (21) and Cornellà de Llobregat (22), and they are charged, depending on the case, with crimes belonging to criminal group, favoring illegal immigration and document falsification.