Share story

MADRID (AP) — Spanish authorities say they have broken up a Moroccan gang that used powerful jet skis to smuggle migrants across the Strait of Gibraltar in trips that took half an hour and cost 4,000 euros ($4,870).

Police say each jet ski carried between one and three migrants and a skipper over the less than 15 kilometers (almost 10 miles) from Morocco to Spain. It says that in the overall total of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Africa, the number arriving on jet skis is relatively small, but their use has increased sharply.

Spain’s Guardia Civil and National Police, along with Europol, said in statements Thursday that the gang also used jet skis to smuggle cannabis.

Officials said the trafficked migrants either stayed in Spain or moved on to France or Italy.