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Francisco Tejón, leader of the Los Castaña clan. R.C.
Spain's biggest drug trafficking trial involving 152 alleged gang members starts

Spain's biggest drug trafficking trial involving 152 alleged gang members starts

Members of the Los Castañas clan who sit in the dock are accused of running drug trafficking networks in the Campo de Gibraltar and along the Andalusian coast

Melchor Sáiz-Pardo

Madrid

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

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The biggest drug trafficking trial for the largest drug clan to exist in Spain started on Monday (10 April) at the Algeciras headquarters of the Provincial Court of Cadiz.

The fifty defendants in the Operation Nécora from the early 90s against drug trafficking in the Galician estuaries now seems small in comparison to the 152 defendants of the Los Castañas clan who sit in the dock accused of running drug trafficking networks in the Campo de Gibraltar and along the Andalusian coast.

The Anti-Drugs Prosecutor's Office has asked for sentences totalling 1,787 years in prison and huge fines for Antonio Tejón, the leader of the 'el Castaña' clan, and his extensive network of collaborators. The Public Prosecutor's Office described it as “a criminal spider's web” which managed to bring in huge quantities of hashish onto the mainland.

It is claimed that Tejón directed the network from prison, and even managed to keep it running during the strictest days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first session in the remodelled court complex, which the Junta de Andalucia has had to spent more than 150,000 euros to be able to host the trial, ended on Monday with agreements of compliance with the Prosecutor's Office for 62 of the accused, who faced lesser sentences such as two years' prison. The court also withdrew accusations for 20 defendants.

The Public Prosecutor's Office asked for a sentence of 15 years and 9 months for Tejón, as well as a fine of 104 million euros for crimes against public health, receiving and smuggling drugs and membership of a criminal group.

From prison and in 2020 alone, he arranged at least 9,000 kilos of hashish to be brought onto Spanish shores, according to the Public Prosecutor's Office.

Tejón's network was organised on two levels; a top tier which was made up of 45 people and a second level, made up of another hundred individuals, who were mainly in charge of surveillance work or collecting bundles on Andalusian beaches.

The Los Castañas network had its own jetties, fleet of boats, drones to monitor the trips and security forces, as well as tractors and trucks, the court heard.

Tejón returned to the dock on Monday just four months after being acquitted in another case, in which he was tried, along with his brother 'Isco' and fourteen other people for their alleged links to two shipments intercepted in 2016 in La Línea de la Concepción.

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