Man gets $9,172 for jail time from cocaine soap confusion

Jacques Benoit Fiocconi was compensated by Spain's Ministry of Justice after being incarcerated for two months over a van load of soap authorities confused for cocaine.
By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   March 25, 2015 at 4:44 PM
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MADRID, March 23 (UPI) -- A French businessman who spent two months in a Spanish prison before authorities discovered his shipment of "cocaine" was actually soap was awarded $9,172.

Jacques Benoit Fiocconi, a cosmetics entrepreneur from Corsica, was arrested in Catalonia, Spain, in November 2012 while driving a van loaded with soap. He was with his father, Laurent Fiocconi, a former drug trafficker with ties to infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

The 2,850 bars of soap had been purchased from a factory in Figueres, Spain, but a field test performed by a Spanish Civil Guard patrol tested positive for cocaine.

A December 14 report by the Spanish National Institute of Toxicology determined there was no cocaine in the soap shipment, but it was seven more weeks before a court accepted the report and freed Jacques Benoit Fiocconi.

Laurent Fiocconi remained in custody as part of a probe into alleged drug trafficking linked to French and Spanish criminal gangs.

Jacques Fiocconi sought $90,643 from the Ministry of Justice to cover financial losses and moral damages from his two months in jail, but the ministry ended up paying him only $9,172. The ministry said it paid a "standard rate" of $131 per day he spent behind bars.

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