Spain's most wanted drug lord turns himself in a week after appearing in hedonistic music video

Hannah Strange
Francisco Tejon, right, appeared in the video with Clase A, getting out of a Bentley Continental before partying with bikini-clad women and bottles of champagne - SOLARPIX.COM

Spain’s most wanted drug lord on Wednesday turned himself in to police in Andalusia, days after making a daring appearance in a music video for a Cuban reggaeton singer. 

Francisco Tejón, the 39-year-old leader of the Los Castañas drug gang, delivered himself to officers in the town of La Linea de Concepción early on Wednesday morning after almost two years on the run. 

Also known as “Isco”, the kingpin and his brother Antonio are alleged to have amassed a 30 million euro fortune smuggling cannabis from Morocco across the Bay of Gibraltar to southern Spain, one of the key trafficking gateways into Europe.

Tejón’s surprise surrender follows the release of the video for the track Candela by the Spain-based Cuban artist Clase A (Class A), which featured the then-fugitive enjoying a hedonistic lifestyle.

The video was posted to YouTube earlier this month and amassed 50,000 views on YouTube before being replaced by an audio-only version as the controversy over Tejón’s appearance grew.

In it, Tejón and Clase A are seen getting out of a Bentley Continental, a car with a starting price of more than £150,000, before partying with bikini-clad women and bottles of champagne on a bed and in a swimming pool.

Police said they believed Tejón’s brazen appearance in the video was intended as a message to both security forces and rival gangs that he remained in command of Los Castañas despite being on the run.

It may also have been the act of hubris that led to his undoing. While the circumstances surrounding his surrender have not been revealed, officers had been investigating the filming of the video in the hope that it would yield clues as to his whereabouts. 

They had identified the house at which the video was shot as a location raided in 2016 as part of Operation Ronald, which prompted the Tejón brothers to flee to Morocco. 

Antonio Tejón was arrested back in La Linea in June, and Francisco's appearance in the music video confirmed police suspicions that he too had returned to the area. 

La Linea, an economically struggling town of 63,000 inhabitants on the Spanish border with Gibraltar, has become a stronghold for drug gangs who have taken advantage of its location and high unemployment levels to develop deep local networks. 

Police in the area have repeatedly warned of the challenge to the rule of law posed by the increasingly confrontational gangs. 

In February, 20 masked men burst into a La Linea hospital to free a member of Los Castañas who was under police guard. 

The Tejón brothers' group was said to control 60 to 70 percent of cannabis smuggling across the Gibraltar Strait, and to be in the process of uniting other gangs under its leadership in what security forces described as Spain's first cartel.