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Drugs

Spanish drug lord arrested after cameo in music video

Francisco Tejon surrenders, stripping major smuggling gang of its top level, police say

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 October, 2018, 11:08am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 October, 2018, 10:15pm

One of Spain’s most wanted men has surrendered to police days after he surfaced in a reggaeton video featuring scantily clad women, a Bentley and a swimming pool.

The arrest of Francisco Tejon, who is alleged to lead the Castanas gang that dominates the hashish trade between Morocco and southern Spain, is likely to bolster officers tackling drug-related violence in and around the troubled town of La Linea de la Concepcion.

Tejon, whom police had sought for two years, turned himself in on Wednesday morning. His arrest follows that of his younger brother, Antonio, who was detained in June after a huge police operation in La Linea.

Local officers arrested the 39-year-old after being given an address by his lawyers, the national police force said.

“His arrest means that the Policia Nacional have dismantled the top level of the biggest hashish-smuggling gang that operates in the Campo de Gibraltar area,” it said.

“Investigators had focused all their efforts on his arrest following that of his brother in June. Police activity has been ceaseless, with officers tracking the movements of Francisco’s inner circle and managing to move closer and closer to the homes and addresses used.”

Tejon – known as Isco – had appeared to taunt officers by taking part in a music video with the Cuban reggaeton singer Clase-A, which was uploaded to YouTube at the beginning of October.

The video showed Tejon and the singer climbing out of a Bentley and performing a high-five before walking into a house full of champagne and women in bikinis.

Although La Linea has been a smuggling hub for centuries, there has been a surge in trafficking – and clashes with police officers – over recent years.

The town has from some of the highest levels of unemployment in Spain – with up to 80 per cent of young people out of work in some neighbourhoods – and around 3,000 of La Linea’s 64,000 inhabitants are thought to be involved in the 30 or so gangs that run the drug trade.

In April last year, 100 people threw stones at police as they moved to seize a consignment of hashish on a beach. Police patrol cars have been rammed by 4x4 vehicles to thwart confiscations.

Eight months ago, 20 masked men stormed the hospital in La Linea to free a suspected drug trafficker, while a group of off-duty Guardia Civil officers was attacked by a crowd armed with baseball bats and broken bottles in nearby Algeciras in May.

Police unions have made repeated calls for reinforcements and more resources to tackle the smugglers, warning that the situation will deteriorate still further unless action is taken.

Last year, police seized 145,372kg (320,500 pounds) of hashish in the region and 11,785kg of cocaine.