The area stretching between Spain and
Morocco, known as the Western Mediterranean route, has long been used by
migrants. For many years, it has also been the main route used by criminal
networks to smuggle narcotics into the EU.
Frontex supports the national
authorities with border control and surveillance, identification and
registration and its ships and airplanes contribute to search and rescue
operations. The agency has been assisting the Spanish authorities not only at
sea, but in various sea ports and at international airports.
The Western Mediterranean region has
also long been a major conduit for drug smugglers seeking to bring hashish,
cannabis and cocaine by sea to the lucrative European markets. Frontex vessels
and aircraft assist the Spanish authorities to disrupt the drug smuggling
Frontex currently deploys in Spain
more than 180 officers from several European countries who assist with border
checks, help register migrants and collect information on criminal smuggling
networks, which is shared with national authorities and Europol in support of
criminal investigations. They also provide support in identifying vulnerable
migrants, such as victims of trafficking, including those in need of
international protection. Finally, Frontex also helps Spanish authorities to
seize drugs, weapons and cigarettes.
Officers deployed by Frontex in Spain
take part in various joint operations, including three focused on Spain’s sea
borders: Hera, Indalo and Minerva.