French police have seized a record haul of 1.3 tonnes of pure cocaine found on board an Air France cargo plane, Interior Minister Manuel Valls has announced.
The drugs, seized on September 11, had been packed into 30 suitcases, Valls told a news conference on Saturday in Nanterre, outside Paris, adding that this was the biggest-ever haul in metropolitan France.
A source close to the investigation said the flight had originated in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, adding that the cocaine had a street value of about 200 million euros ($270m).
The operation was carried out in collaboration with Spanish, British and Dutch police and Valls said “several members of a criminal organisation” had been arrested.
The French interior minister said the seizure illustrated the “importance of strengthening international cooperation in the fight against traffickers”, as he displayed the 30 empty suitcases that had contained the cocaine and were not linked to any of the passengers on the flight.
Valls said four tonnes of cocaine has been seized in the country since the start of the year.