A NOTORIOUS drug kingpin has been sentenced to over six years in prison after the largest trial against drug trafficking in Spain’s history.
Antonio Tejon, leader of the ‘Chestnut’ smuggling clan – or ‘Las Castañas’ – must also pay two separate fines of €1million each.
The 43-year old was found guilty of leading the large-scale trafficking of hashish through the use of boats, regarded by Spanish law as a threat to public health.
The ruling also found Tejon guilty of re-offending and being a member of a criminal organisation.
However, he was absolved of the crimes of smuggling and receiving illicit goods for which prosecutors wanted a sentence of 15 years in prison and over €200million in fines.
Tejon’s incarceration forms part of a wider anti-drug trafficking offensive by Cadiz’s Provincial Court, with a total of 97 offenders sentenced to a cumulative 280 years in prison.
Tejon and his brother Isco were previously known as the ‘Hashish Kings’ as they collaboratively ran one of the largest gangs operating across the Gibraltar Strait.
However, a Guardia Civil operation in 2020 led to Tejon’s arrest after at least 9,000 kilograms of hashish were found to have arrived on Andalucia’s coast from Morocco.
Tejon is reported to have directed operations from prison where he was serving a sentence for a minor drug trafficking charge.
According to prosecutors, Tejon used prison visits from associates to give orders before he was released.
Additionally, his clan relied on a network of embankments, fishing boats, drones, tractors and trucks in order to illegally import drugs into Spain.
Four months prior to the hearing, Tejon was acquitted in a separate case related to two hauls of hashish that were intercepted in La Linea de la Concepcion.
The two brothers are reported to be ‘idolised’ in the city, especially amongst young men – a code of silence in the area helped protect the clan as they expanded their smuggling operation.