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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
The soap seized from Jacques Benoit Fiocconi's van. Photo courtesy Civil Guard
The soap seized from Jacques Benoit Fiocconi's van. Photo courtesy Civil Guard

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.

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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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