It seems like the end of a decade-long soap opera.

The Court of Cassation confirmed on Wednesday the six-year prison sentences of the airline officials involved in the "Air Cocaine" affair.

On July 8, 2021, Pierre-Marc Dreyfus and Fabrice Alcaud were found guilty of "importing narcotics in an organized gang" and sentenced to six years in prison by the special Assize Court of Appeal of Bouches-du-Rhône, which had thus confirmed the sentence pronounced at first instance.

The two men ran SN-THS, the Lyon aviation company that operated the flights, one of which, according to the court, had allowed the import of narcotics in December 2012. During this appeal, the two pilots of the Falcon on board which had been loaded 26 suitcases containing 700 kg of cocaine in March 2013 on the Dominican airport of Punta Cana had, them, been acquitted.

A guilt still disputed

In April 2019, during the first trial, they were sentenced to six years in prison in this case with twists and turns during which they had notably escaped from the Dominican Republic, where they had been imprisoned for fifteen months.

Pierre-Marc Dreyfus and Fabrice Alcaud have always denied having knowledge of cocaine transport from the Caribbean and Latin America on board their aircraft, rented by intermediaries linked to traffickers.

They had appealed to the Court of Cassation, but the highest court in the country, which rules on the law and not on the merits, rejected their arguments and confirmed the verdict on the prison sentences.

The judgment also confirms the conviction of Ali Bouchareb, considered to be the sponsor of the three flights in dispute, sentenced on appeal to eighteen years' imprisonment and who had also appealed to the Court of Cassation.

The Court of Cassation, on the other hand, quashed the verdict concerning the confiscation of all the assets and funds seized in this case, in that the Court of Assizes did not indicate in its judgment as it should have "the nature and origin of the objects placed under seal which it ordered the confiscation, nor the basis of this penalty”.

Pierre-Marc Dreyfus and Fabrice Alcaud were released on bail under judicial supervision in October 2021, pending the decision of the Court of Cassation.

They had already completed a total of some 15 months of detention at different stages of the case.


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