IT’S taken over a decade, but finally the ‘Kings of Hashish’ are on trial.

Brothers Francisco and Antonio Tejon are facing 20 years in prison over claims they smuggled drugs across the Straits of Gibraltar.

Said to be one of Spain’s key gangs, the Castañas, as they are known, long evaded police around the Campo de Gibraltar area.

Based out of La Linea and across the waters in Tangier, they sent dozens (possibly hundreds) of consignments of drugs across the Straits.

At one stage they were thought to have control of an astonishing 70% of the hashish trade between Morocco and Spain.

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Guardia Civil arresting Antonio Tejon of Los Castañas. Image from Guardia Civil.

They are on trial in Algeciras alongside 15 of their gang,  including two Policia Nacional and one Policia Local officer who are accused of tipping off the smugglers about anti-drug operations and road blocks.

The prosecutor is asking for 20 years jail for the Tejon brothers and 11 years each for their associates. The brothers also face fines of €4 million each. The defendants face drugs trafficking, firearms and belonging to organised crime charges.

Police believe the brothers have amassed a €30 million fortune through their criminal activities. Their nefarious activities are said to have provided livelihoods for hundreds of La Linea’s poorest members of society. Despite their notoriety, they managed to stay at large for years, protected by an ‘omerta’ code of silence amongst many of the people inthe town.

The trial was halted as one defendant was hospitalised with ‘psychiatric problems’ and will resume on Friday.

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