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Old 05-04-2018, 10:30 PM
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Default Canarian Weekly: Danger signs: Drug gangs causing real panic by linking up

A DRUG cartel in southern Spain’s “narco town” is growing stronger by the day, thanks to the return of two ruthless brothers.

Six Cadiz gangs have joined forces to form the Castañitas Cartel, said to be headed by Antonio and Francisco Tejon.

Police fear losing control after realising the clans are now adopting identical structures to the Colombian drug cartels, which saw the South American country spiral into a virtual civil war in the 1980s.

The AUGC police union has warned recent promises from the government to increase funding and officer numbers are little more than ‘band aids’ and will not be enough.

A huge 80% of drug-related arrests in Spain happen in Cadiz, compared with 14% in Almeria and just 5% in Valencia.

In the Campo de Gibraltar, at least 3,000 of its 63,000 population are working for drug-traffickers.

And brothers Antonio and Francisco are believed to be running the show after grouping together six gangs to form a successful international smuggling operation.

There are some 25 other gangs in the region, most of whom operate on their own, but authorities fear they could soon be enticed by the growing cartel.

The Tejon brothers have, reportedly, returned to La Linea after a brief exile in Morocco.

Each gang, under their growing empire, are said to be responsible for different parts of the smuggling operation, including sea transportation, picking up cargo from the beaches and hiding the drugs in safe houses.

The Tejon clan, including brothers, children, wives and more, are, allegedly, all dedicated to the smuggling of drugs, mostly hashish.

Police estimate Antonio and Francisco have around 20-30 million euros in cash, hidden around La Linea de la Concepcion.

And apart from their 24-or-so bank accounts, it is believed that they became known for throwing huge parties, complete with prostitutes and paid-off police officers.

They lived in luxury mansions in La Linea, and weren’t afraid to flaunt their cash on social media.

The brothers fled to Morocco last year, after some 30 colleagues were arrested, but police intelligence says they are back… and this time they mean business!

Concerned cops say they have brought with them a rise in violence, and brazen aggression against law-enforcers, especially when they have detected a stash.

There have been at least 15 attacks against police vehicles in the last three years, and one recent ramming of a cop car went viral, after being compared with a scene from hit Netflix series Narcos.

Meanwhile, gangs have begun hiring ruthless assassins to guard drug lords and precious cargo, while traffickers are dressing up as Guardia Civil officers to rob their rivals. And this means that Spain’s law-enforcers are ever more at risk.

Two small gangs have been jailed this week after police seized a batch of uniforms, identical to the real deal.

Juan Fernández, national spokesperson of the AUGC police union, said: “People do not know if the guards and the police are real.

“We feel afraid, but we cannot allow these gangs to organise themselves.”

Fernandez has called for an education or employment plan in the area, given that 40% of the people are unemployed.

Among the young, it is even more startling, with 80% unemployed. Worryingly, it means they are easy targets for traffickers looking for new recruits.

Meanwhile, the Algeciras Guardia Civil, who cover the Campo de Gibraltar, have just 1,100 agents, which is about one-third the size of the drug-gangs’ 3,000-strong workforce.

The situation is almost desperate. Traffickers have the latest technology to help avoid detection, while their huge profits may have already began paying-off police.

That is the fear of police chiefs, who suspect corruption could have begun creeping in.

It is a tactic mastered by notorious kingpin Pablo Escobar. He believed everyone had a price, and he paid local police millions over the years to look the other way.
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