A COURT in Spain’s Andalucia has released the alleged leader of the Castanas criminal group on bail for €400,000 after spending nearly three years in jail.

Police arrested Antonio Tejon in a wide-ranging operation that included raids, property seizure and the detention of most of his gang.

The mega-case against Tejon and about 100 alleged gang-members is currently ongoing at the Algeciras courts in the province of Cadiz.

The judiciary prepared two huge rooms at the Algeciras courts for what will be the biggest trial in Spanish history.

Prosecutor Macarena Arroyo opposed the decision to allow Tejon to leave custody on bail as he could escape the country.

The Guardia Civil believes Tejon has assets that amount to €30 million after criminal activity across Andalucia and into Portugal.

The case started its oral hearings between April and June before judges started to sift through all the evidence.

Police have amassed detailed information about the drug and tobacco smuggling the Castanas carried out for years.

Prosecutors want to sentence 56 defendants to a total of over 700 years of prison and fine them more than €5 million for their crimes.

They want to send down Tejon for 12 and a half years and fine him €204 million.

He continued to lead the gang from prison via one of his top associates, the prosecutors claim.

Various gang members of the original 157 charged in the trial have already pleaded guilty in return for shorter sentences.

But police forces have not stopped the crackdown there.

Guardia Civil units have continuing to carry out raids on drug trafficking infrastructure and money laundering assets during this year.

They arrested two other gang leaders, one nicknamed Noel during a raid on a La Linea chalet followed by Wachi who handed himself in at an Algeciras police station.


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