‘Air Cocaine’ smugglers given long sentences by French court

Seven people, including two former pilots, are jailed for their role in attempt to smuggle 680kg of drug from Dominican Republic.

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A French court has sentenced seven people implicated in a drug-smuggling operation to up to 18 years in prison each, with two former air force pilots getting six-year terms, reports The Guardian.

Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos had fled the Dominican Republic after a raid on the private jet they were to fly to Saint-Tropez, southern France, but were re-arrested in France in November 2015.

In what has become known as the “Air Cocaine” case, Fauret and Odos were accused along with seven other defendants of trying to smuggle 680kg (1,500lb) of the drug out of the country. Two were acquitted following a seven-week trial.

The ringleader, Ali Bouchareb, was sentenced to 18 years in prison, while his right-hand man, Frank Colin, got 12 years.

Only Bouchareb was held in detention during the trial; the other eight had been granted bail.

Colin was the only defendant who had admitted to taking part in the smuggling operation but claimed he was in fact an “infiltrated agent”.

Read more of this report from The Guardian.

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