SEF states that the 12 detainees - 11 men and one woman - are between 21 and 49 years old and were detected at border control on leaving national territory for a flight to Cancun. SEF believed that the people may be attempting to illegally enter the United States of America (USA) through the Mexican border.

“The possibility of reaching and crossing the US border from Mexico has led many citizens, mostly of Asian nationalities, to try to follow this route supported by organised illegal immigration networks”, reads the statement, which highlights the cooperation “with Mexican, US and European authorities” in dismantling these organised networks which supply false documents.

According to SEF, since the beginning of 2022, 98 foreign citizens have been arrested with forged documents who were trying to travel to Mexico. Among the countries with documents (passport, identity cards, driving licenses or visas) that were allegedly the target of forgery are Japan, Denmark, Spain, Greece and Italy, with the quality of these forgeries requiring “several external steps” from inspectors.

Of these 12 detainees, 10 were in an irregular situation in Portugal and will be presented to the judge for a summary trial.