No fewer than 20 alleged human smugglers operating through the Ceuta exclave bordering Morocco have been arrested by the Spanish Police.
The suspects are believed to be responsible for the shipwreck which happened in February in which four migrants drowned.
They are also accused of trafficking migrants in rickety boats, each carrying between seven and 10 people, between North Africa and Spain.
The Spanish police said in a statement that their victims, mostly underage Moroccans, were approached in Ceuta, they then travelled the few kilometres to the Iberian Peninsula, paying an average of 2,500 euros ($3,000) apiece.
In the bust, some 150 police officers backed by Europol agents seized three boats, five firearms, ammunition, and cash.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 330 migrants died by drowning in the western Mediterranean last year.
In the first three months of this year, 4,377 migrants arrived in Spain by sea, of whom more than half reached the Canary Islands, where arrivals have increased steadily since late 2019.