Spanish court jails drug baron and family

Madrid (AFP) –


A Spanish court on Monday jailed and fined a well-known drug baron and several members of his family, shutting down the estate agents they used for money laundering.

A court in Pontevedra, in the northwestern Galicia region, jailed Sito Minanco for four years and fined him six million euros (US$6.85 million) for laundering drug money.

Four other defendants -- his ex-wife, his eldest daughter, a former sister-in-law and a business associate -- all received the same sentence.

The court also ordered the seizure of their assets and possessions, including the closure of the estate agents they ran. That business was the "axis around which all the defendants committed the crime of money laundering", said the judgment.

Minanco, real name Jose Ramon Prado Bugallo, is one of the country's most notorious drug traffickers, having been twice convicted and jailed in the past, spending 17 years behind bars.

His story is also well known because it was popularised in a television series, "Farina", based on the book of the same name.

From the 1980s onwards Minanco, now 63, built up his empire in Galicia and the trial dealt with allegations dating as far back as 1988.

When police arrested him in February 2018 in the southern city of Algericas, he was still on parole from his last conviction. Investigators said he was trying to get back into the cocaine trade that made him a millionaire.