French police have detained five people after 137 Romanians were found to be carrying forged negative Covid tests, authorities said, according to stiridiaspora.ro.
Four of the people taken into custody were bus drivers, the publication reported. on Monday.
French police said the group was traveling on two buses from Spain to France and tried to pass the border at the Spanish crossing point of La Jonquera which crosses into Le Perthus in France.
They presented their certificates at the border which purported to come from a laboratory in Barcelona were downloaded on the drivers’ phones.
Passengers told police they had paid for the tickets including a 40-euro Covid test. Police suspected the certificates were fake and didn’t allow the Romanians to enter France.
Police sent the tests to the laboratory in Barcelona which confirmed it had not conducted the tests.
The four drivers and another person are being investigated for forgery and being part of a crime ring. Police say the gang leader lives in the Spanish town of Torrejón de Ardoz, northeast of Madrid.
Covid tests are free in France but in Spain and most other European countries.