The smugglers and ancient alliances defying the borders of the Pyrenees

France — Report

The Pyrenees mountains separating France and Spain have long been a crossing route for smugglers of all kinds of wares, which today range from cigarettes to elvers. But the 623-kilometre-long border between the two countries, definitively traced in 1866, has also never been a barrier for the centuries-old exchanges, local alliances and regulations established between the communities living on either side. Emmanuel Riondé reports. 

UK Border Force officer held in France in arms and drugs ring probe

International — Link

An 36-year-old officer with the British border control agency Border Force was arrested in northern France along with three other Britons when handguns, ammunition, cocaine and heroin were found in their posession, in a joint operation into a suspected weapons and drugs smuggling ring by police in France and Britain. 

Former UK soldier cleared of 'people smuggling' charge by French court

International — Link

Rob Lawrie was instead given a fine for placing a child in danger after trying leave Calais for the UK last october with a 4-year-old Afghan girl.

The international drugs trade returns to post-war Mali

International — Report

Since the retreat of jihadist forces from northern Mali, and the winding down this year of the French military campaign that forced them out of the area, drugs trafficking has regained its lucrative path across the Sahel region, en route to Europe. Thomas Cantaloube reports from Mali on how the drugs trade has become a major cause of corruption in both the former French colony and the wider region of West Africa, where the transit of drugs is now joined by a dangerous and growing new phenomena, that of drug consumption.

The smoke and mirrors of the tobacco industry's funding of Interpol

International — Investigation

The France-based international police cooperation organisation Interpol has since last year become part-funded by the world’s largest cigarette producer, Philip Morris International, in a deal presented as helping to fight black market sales and to ensure traceability of tobacco products. This further example of the intergovernmental police organisation’s controversial new partnerships with the private sector raises a number of concerns, not least over the suspicion that the tobacco industry itself has been feeding criminal networks involved in the trafficking. Mathieu Martinière and Robert Schmidt report.

French consulate worker busted smuggling gold into West Bank

International — Link

Israeli customs arrested the man as he tried to cross from Jordan with 152 kg in gold bars, nearly $2 million in checks and 500 kg of tobacco.