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MAJOR DRUG BUST: $270 million in cocaine seized on Air France flight

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 23rd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It was a major drug operation - ineptly handled. The persons responsible wrapped up the drugs in bright, colorful luggage - neglected to register the 30 suitcases to anyone on the plane - and authorities knew immediately that something was up. French officials opened the bags up and discovered $270 million in cocaine.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Altogether, 1.3 tons of pure cocaine were stuffed inside the anonymous bags on the Air France flight from Caracas, Venezuela at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

Discovered on September 11 - when air flight security is ESPECIALLY tight, French authorities didn't publicize the find until this past weekend.

Venezuela's Public Ministry says that authorities had detained three members of the National Guard in connection with the incident. It's not yet know exactly what they are accused of doing. "Several" people have been taken in custody, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls told reporters. Valls said it was the biggest drug haul ever made in the Paris area.

Authorities are working with Spanish, British and Dutch police on the investigation.

This case "illustrates the importance of strengthening International cooperation in the fight against traffickers," Valls said.

The Public Ministry in Venezuela said prosecutors will investigate, along with the Counterdrug Command of the National Guard in Simon Bolivar International Airport, to see if any criminal activity took place.

Venezuela's justice and interior minister, Miguel Rodriguez, said Sunday that an officer from the anti-drug unit of the Bolivian National Guard and two National Guard sergeants had been arrested.

Rodriguez said it was highly likely the smugglers had accomplices within Air France working with them. The airline has ordered an internal investigation and says it is working closely with the police over an incident that has, at the very least, exposed serious lapses in its security procedures in Caracas.

Police sources said none of the six people detained in France was a French national or employee of Air France.

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