Spanish Police Rescue Migrants Trapped Inside Refrigeration Truck
Spanish police rescued Wednesday three migrants who almost died in the back of a refrigeration truck as they were smuggled into the country via Morocco.
National Police officers rescued the migrants as they entered the country through Andalucia’s Port of Algeciras. The group had originally concealed themselves in the back of a refrigeration truck as they departed Tangier.
Spanish police at the scene worked in tandem with domestic border agents as well as officers from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, commonly known as Frontex. The multidisciplinary agency, born from the 2015-16 migrant crisis, coordinates with EU member state land border and coast guard agencies to monitor border security around the Schengen Area.
The victims were discovered after officers heard knocks and voices coming from inside the refrigeration truck’s cargo area. First responders had to unseal the truck in order to gain access to the hidden compartment.
Upon rescue, the three migrants were found to be suffering from respiratory distress and were immediately taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital.
Authorities have been on heightened alert for human smuggling and human trafficking activity since June this year when they kicked off Operation Minerva in an attempt to curb irregular immigration stemming from Africa.
Agents attached to Operation Minerva are also on the lookout for any manifestations of the trafficking of drugs, weapons, or humans; as well as any activities of suspected terrorism. In the six weeks of Minerva’s existence, police have made more than 1,600 interventions into suspected criminal activity.
This incident does not mark the first time migrants have been rescued in the back of a refrigeration truck.
In March 2017, border officers in the Spanish city of Teruel rescued eight Iraqi migrants, among them four children aged two, five, eight, and 10.
And in November the same year, a Spanish lorry driver was arrested in the Netherlands after nine migrants from Iraq and Vietnam were discovered in his truck’s refrigeration unit. Police reported that the victims were “absolutely frozen” by the time they were rescued.