International

France seizes $270M of cocaine from Air France plane

The drugs were packed in 30 suitcases aboard the flight from Venezuela

An Air France Boeing 777-300ER plane takes off on June 11, 2013 at Charles de Gaulle international airport in Paris.
Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

French police at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport have seized a record haul of 1.3 tons of pure cocaine found on board an Air France cargo plane, Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced Saturday.

The drugs, seized on Sept. 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 $270 million.

The operation was carried out in collaboration with Spanish, British and Dutch police and Valls said "several members of a criminal organization" 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 tons of cocaine has been seized in the country since the start of the year.

Agence France-Presse

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