The incredible true story on which ‘Clans’ is based, the most watched series on Netflix that has surpassed ‘The Bridgertons’

Netflix has just received a new Spanish fiction in its catalog that, as its trailer warns, is “inspired by real events”, although it is not a biopic or a strictly faithful true crime like ‘The Asunta Case’ could be, but rather part of a character and real events to create his own story: that of a lawyer who falls in love with a drug dealer and becomes entangled in a criminal network from which it will be impossible to come out well. This is ‘Clanes’, starring Clara Lago and Tamar Novas, alter egos of the real characters.

The fiction created by Jorge Guerricaechevarría (screenwriter who regularly collaborates with Álex de la Iglesia or Daniel Monzón) introduces us to Ana and Daniel, a lawyer who has recently arrived in the town of Cambados and the son of a drug trafficker who leads the Padín clan while his father is in jail. The real versions of these characters are called Tania Varela and David Pérez Lago, who met in 2005 and, in addition to starting a romantic relationship, shared businesses. Her story, full of dramatic twists, captured the attention of the media, not only because of the criminal activities but because she, as a character, was very striking: From a promising legal professional to an international fugitive.


Four years before they met, Tania Varela had been chosen by the Cambados City Council to direct the Muller Information Center (CIM), a care center for victims of gender violence, a position that she left later to set up her office as lawyer. Tania Varela’s life took a drastic turn when she fell in love with David Pérez Lago, stepson of the well-known drug trafficker Laureano Oubiña. He went to the lawyer for an alleged urban planning problem, although at that time he was no longer a clean man: years before, in 1999, he had been involved in Operation Ocaso, in which fifteen tons of hashish were seized on board a ship.

Tania, however, fell in love with the drug trafficker, three years younger than her. David aspired to become one of the most powerful men in Galician drug trafficking, at a time when the great leaders of past decades had been deactivated. In 2006, he planned a big coup that didn’t go well: tried to smuggle a stash of two tons of cocaine along the Costa da Morte, valued at around 160 million euros. But they hunted him in the port of Corcubión and that led him to prison. And, with him, he dragged Varela, presumably also involved in the operation.


In 2013, Tania Varela was convicted of money laundering related to drug trafficking, but Instead of serving her sentence, she decided to flee, becoming one of the most wanted fugitives in Spain.. She, unlike the rest of those involved in that Corcubión operation, did not accept the deal offered by the prosecution to avoid trial, with a fine and a few years in prison, and wanted to defend her innocence. She turned out badly. Neither the National Court, which sentenced her to seven years in prison and two fines of 318 million euros, nor the Supreme Court agreed with her and ordered her imprisonment, but by then Tania had disappeared.

Between the Costa da Morte stash and that arrest warrant there was another twist in the script. David Pérez Lago’s gang was defended by a Madrid lawyer named Alfonso Díaz Moñux, known for having previously handled cases of many other Galician drug traffickers and Russian mafia members. Díaz Moñux began a romantic relationship with Tania Varela, who had already left him with Pérez Lago, and they even worked together after she was temporarily released. In 2008, two hitmen pounced on the car in which Alfonso and Tania were traveling and killed him with two shots in the head.

clans netflix series

Five years after Varela’s trace was lost, during which time she was the only woman on Europol’s list of 70 most wanted fugitives, She was arrested in Sitges, where she was living under a false identity and with her daughter, which he had had during that time. For his part, David Pérez Lago committed crimes again after serving his sentence, being arrested again in 2018 as part of Operation Mito, in which José Ramón Prado Bugallo, another of the most important drug traffickers in the country, was also involved.

Headshot of Álvaro Onieva

I was born on Wisteria Lane, I was roommates with Hannah Horvath, and ‘Chicago’ drove me crazy because Roxie Hart is me. I have a sharp tongue, but, as Lola Flores said, “they had to give me a subsidy for joy.”

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