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1.3 tons of cocaine found on plane heading to mafia, police say

Sept. 23, 2013 at 12:37 PM   |   Comments

CARACAS, Venezuela, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Police say 1.3 tons of cocaine found in 30 suitcases aboard an Air France flight were destined for Italy's 'Ndrangeta mafia.

The drugs -- worth about $270 million -- were discovered inside 30 suitcases after the flight touched down in Paris on Sept. 11, The Daily Telegraph, Britain, reported.

Investigators said the suitcases were registered to fake names that did not correspond to any passengers on the flight.

A police official said the drugs were heading to the Calabria-based 'Ndrangeta mafia, which controls about 80 percent of Europe's cocaine imports.

Police have so far made nine arrests in the case, including three Police National Guard officers who were arrested in Caracas.

"Public prosecutors will charge a first sergeant, a second sergeant and a first lieutenant for allegedly committing crimes established by Venezuelan law," Venezuela's prosecutor's office said.

The public prosecutor's office didn't specify the charges against the National Guard officers, the French Tribune reported.

The prosecutor, whose name wasn't reported, said three Italian women and three British women were also arrested in Paris, though the details of their involvement weren't disclosed.

"This marks the biggest seizure of cocaine ever made in mainland France as part of a judicial investigation," French Interior Minister Manuel Vallson said Saturday.

Topics: Sept. 11
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