By Harold Heckle
MADRID, SPAIN (AP) – Spanish police say they have busted a gang of 25
Nigerians who were engaged in human trafficking for sexual exploitation,
Internet fraud and money laundering.
Five women victims of sex
slavery also were released during the crackdown on the underground
operation in Spain, the police said in a statement Sunday.
gang was using Spain as a springboard to send Nigerian women to be
exploited in other countries, and it laundered profits by buying luxury
products that were shipped to Lagos, Nigeria, in vans with darkened
windows and welded doors, police said.
The crackdown seized 94
vans near Madrid and 26 loaded ones at Valencia port containing goods
with an estimated value of 5 million euros ($6.7 million), the statement
said. Police had to use heavy machinery to open the vans, which
contained items such as expensive television sets and cases of premium
The gang was originally formed around 1990 at Nigerian
universities and was responsible for sending a large number of “Nigerian
letters” that tried to fraudulently extract money from recipients, the
The gang “captured” women in Nigeria, flew them
with false identity papers to airports in Mexico and Brazil, then sent
them to Paris, from where they were driven to Spain, police said.
of the 25 suspects were illegal immigrants, and the arrests occurred in
Madrid, Toledo, Cantabria and Palma de Mallorca. The statement didn’t
say when that happened.