France makes $270 mn cocaine bust on Venezuela flight
French police have seized a record haul of 1.3 tonnes of pure cocaine found on board an Air France cargo plane, Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced Saturday.
The drugs, seized on September 11, had been packed into 30 suitcases, Valls told a news conference in Nanterre, outside Paris, adding that this was the biggest-ever haul in metropolitan France.
A source close to the investigation said the flight had originated in the Venezuelan capital Caracas, adding that the cocaine had a street value of some 200 million euros ($270 million).
The operation was carried out in collaboration with Spanish, British and Dutch police and Valls said "several members of a criminal organisation" had been arrested.
Valls said the seizure illustrated the "importance of strengthening international cooperation in the fight against traffickers", as he displayed the 30 empty suitcases that had contained the cocaine and were not linked to any of the passengers on the flight.
Valls said four tonnes of cocaine has been seized in the country since the start of the year.
© 2013 AFP