13 defendants were tried by the Bobigny Criminal Court on Monday.
They admitted to having stolen, between 2009 and 2012, wads of banknotes in suitcases which they identified as being those of drug traffickers.
5 of them were sentenced to five years in prison, four of which were suspended.
Former customs officers at Roissy airport (Val-d'Oise) were sentenced on Monday in Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis) to sentences of up to five years in prison, four of which were suspended.
They were prosecuted for having stolen hundreds of thousands of euros in cash from the suitcases of drug traffickers.
Of the thirteen defendants tried in February by the criminal court, five were sentenced to this sentence, together with the confiscation of real estate and bank accounts.
The former officials of this leading group were found guilty of money laundering and criminal association and, for some, of theft in meetings by a person holding public authority.
The court, however, acquitted them of the alleged misappropriation.
Thefts committed over many years
The eight other agents were either sentenced to terms of up to three years in prison, two of which were suspended, or found guilty but released from the sentence.
One was acquitted with the benefit of the doubt.
The acts committed date back to the period 2009-2012.
"It's a relief to be able to close this chapter of their lives", especially since "the sanction is relatively measured, which shows that the judges have heard" the arguments of the defense, pointed out Me Sabrina Goldman, the lawyer for one of the ex-customs officers.
At the helm, they had admitted having stolen wads of banknotes from suitcases which they identified as being those of drug traffickers, as part of their function within the first European airport.
If they intercepted a suitcase of drugs, they officially seized it;
but if the suitcase contained cash, they discreetly took some of it, without seizing it.
According to them, these acts had been going on since the 1990s – they are largely covered by the prescription.
The investigation was unable to establish the total amount of the fraud.
The prosecution had requested harsher sentences, up to three years.
“Absolutely nothing can excuse your actions” which “have brought discredit on the profession”, had rebuked the prosecutor Catherine Brusaferro, describing the defendants as “thugs”.
They had argued at the hearing that the management was aware of these shady practices, which the latter had firmly denied.
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