French National Sentenced to Four Years in Prison For Driving Illegals Across Border

Migrants walks near the closed bridge at the border crossing point between Irun and Hendaye, on March 10, 2021. - Migrants wait in the Spanish Basque city of Irun for a chance to cross the border into France on their way to Northen Europe. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA / AFP) …

A 49-year-old French national has been sentenced to four years in prison for driving migrants across the border from Spain into France and even trying to ram his vehicle into officers at the time of his arrest.

The Bayonne Criminal Court found a 49-year-old identified as ‘Daniel’ guilty of people trafficking for driving as many as 162 sub-Saharan African migrants on 24 different trips between the Spanish town of Irun to France since December as well as for acts of violence. He was sentenced to four years in prison this week.

‘Daniel’ was arrested Friday in Bayonne after he had dropped off 15 migrants at a shelter in the city and made an attempt to hit officers with his vehicle when they tried to take him into custody, injuring one officer slightly, France Bleu reports.

After the attempted attack, he fled the scene but was taken into custody around an hour later in the village of Béhobie near the Spanish border.

During his court appearance, Daniel told the court that he did not request any payment for transporting the migrants across the border and that he had given out his phone number to migrants at a Red Cross centre in Irun, claiming he was acting on a humanitarian basis.

Prosecutor Amandine Boyer, however, noted that Daniel, a sheep farmer and carpenter by trade, was in debt to the sum of 150,000 euros (£124,956/$169,880) and questioned why he gave migrants trips even through the Christmas holidays, on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day for free.

During his arrest, it was also noted that Daniel had 2,400 (£2,000/$2,718) euros in cash with him at the time, which the 49-year-old claimed was meant for carpentry materials.

The case comes after a 20-year-old Malian national was arrested for smuggling a dozen migrants a day from Irun to Bayonne in November and is said to have charged the migrants between 100 and 200 euros (£83-166/$113-226).

A sum of 10,100 euros was found in his home following his arrest and he was sentenced to five months in prison suspended on November 25th by the Bayonne Criminal Court.

Over the course of 2021, nearly 40,000 migrants illegally entered Spain, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry, while the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR put the figure even higher at over 41,000 arrivals.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



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