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.
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.
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 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.
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.