The Gardai were honoured for their services in Palma this summer. Archive photo. | A.S.

The National Police and the Irish Gardaí have brought down an organised crime gang mainly comprising people of Georgian nationality which has been involved in the large-scale production of false identity and travel documents and with robberies from homes in Spain and other parts of Europe over the past fifteen years.

Operation Mombasa, with the assistance of Europol, began in Ireland in 2018.

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It was into the activities of foreign nationals, mainly Georgian, who were living in Ireland. Three leaders of the gang were detained in Ireland yesterday and two more in Barcelona.
They are said to have been in charge of the false identities and of enticing young Georgian people with the promise of a better life in the UK and USA. They were in fact being brought to join a wide-ranging network of house robbers.

Over the past year, the illegal trafficking of people by this gang has led to 125 detentions at various airports in Spain. Most of these, 35, have been at Barcelona El Prat.

Arrests have been made at fifteen other Spanish airports - seven at Palma’s Son Sant Joan - as well as at airports in France, Italy and Portugal.