A pharmacy employee suspected of providing fake negative Covid-19 test certificates to travelers has been detained by Spanish police. The suspect is said to have operated his own travel agency to help market the phony documents.
The 24-year-old man, who was arrested in El Ejido, in southern Spain, allegedly asked for €130 ($156) for each fake certificate. He provided the illicit service to Morroccan citizens who needed proof that they had tested negative for the virus before traveling home.
According to local media, the suspect was able to access the computer of a laboratory that issued Covid-19 certificates, and falsified the documents by changing the name of the patient who had been tested.
The pharmacy worker reportedly used his knowledge of Arabic to help attract clients. To further capitalize on the illegal trade, he had a second job operating his own travel business and selling plane tickets. Customers in need of Covid-19 certificates were referred to the pharmacy so he could provide them with fake test results. It’s believed that he acted alone.
The arrest was made after the police began to suspect there was a black market in the area that was providing travelers with false documents. At the end of April, law enforcement officials launched Operation Pharmacy in the hope of catching who was behind the illicit operation.
So far, police have identified seven cases in which fraudulent test results were used to facilitate travel to Morocco, but the authorities are continuing to investigate because they believe more counterfeits could be found.
Spain isn’t the only country dealing with fake Covid-19 certificates. Last month, a representative of the UK’s immigration service told MPs that, each day, around 100 fake documents are used in an attempt to show a negative Covid-19 status and gain entry to the country.
READ MORE: Thousands of Israelis return to normal life with forged ‘Green Pass’ as vaccine refuseniks otherwise barred from venues
In Israel, thousands of Israelis have reportedly turned to the black market to obtain a fake Green Pass showing proof of vaccination against Covid-19. The document is needed for travel as well as to enter certain venues or carry out other day-to-day activities.
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