‘Gangs of Galicia’ And The True Story That Inspired The Netflix Series

By Louie Fecou
Published: June 24, 2024
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Is Gangs of Galicia on Netflix based on a true story?
Gangs of Galicia | Image via Netflix

Many crime dramas use real events as the basis for their fictional narrative, and Gangs of Galicia is no different. Based loosely on a police operation to take down a drug trafficking operation in Galicia, Spain, the Spanish Netflix drama embraces the trend of approaching a true story with a healthy dose of artistic license.

The True Story Behind Gangs of Galicia

So the official Netflix synopsis states:

“Gangs of Galicia is a vengeance and love story between Ana (Clara Lago), a lawyer who has recently arrived in Cambados in search of answers about the death of her father, and Daniel Padín (Tamar Novas), one of the heads of drug trafficking in Galicia. The series, inspired by real events, debuts on June 21.”

Gangs of Galicia is indeed based on true events, but as is often the case, the trouble comes from separating the truth from the show’s narrative.

A quick search of police operations against drug dealers in the area of Spain where the show is set reveals details about Operation Necora. This sting would take place in Galicia and was part of an ongoing investigation by the police into drug trafficking that would evolve from the initial declining fishing industry in the area, resorting to importing contraband cigarettes to Spain.

As the trade expanded it would lead to the area becoming ideal for smuggling illicit goods, and Operation Necora would result in the arrest of fifty-four people.

The drug smuggling in and around Galicia would become the subject of a book called Farina, slang for “flour”, which would then be made into a 2018 Netflix series also known as Cocaine Coast and would cover the story of fishermen becoming involved in the illegal trade of tobacco, before moving into darker territory such as money laundering and drug smuggling.

Gangs of Galicia has taken inspiration from these events and expanded the core into a seven-part crime drama.

Is The Show Based on Real People?

Whole real-life events may have inspired the writers, it should be stated that the series tends to focus more on the drama between the main characters, who have been written for the series.

There may be some characters inspired by real players associated with the events that occurred in Galicia, but for the sake of a narrative, the majority of the story in the show is fiction.

The Charlin crime family, Los Charlines, was prominent in the events around Galicia, as well as other clans such as the Oubina and NMinanco, and it appears the Los Charlines, comprised of Manuel Charlin Gama, his wife, and their four children, Manuel, Yolanda, Melchor, Maria Teresa, and a cousin called Josefa, may have provided the inspiration for some of the characters in the Netflix series.

However, Ana, Daniel, and Detective Naranjo are there to provide an entertaining drama and have no real correlation with any real-life counterparts.


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