Thread: France 'flooded' with cocaine as traffickers exploit 'back door to Europe'

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    France 'flooded' with cocaine as traffickers exploit 'back door to Europe' 
    Drugs in the Media
    noonoo's Avatar
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    May 2009

    France is being ?flooded? with cocaine as dozens of drug ?mules? arrive daily in Paris on passenger flights from Guiana, a French territory in South America.

    After landing in Paris, some of the drugs are then transported to the UK and other European countries, notably the Netherlands, according to French police.

    Police and customs officials at Orly airport say they are ?overwhelmed? by the steep rise in the number of smugglers boarding domestic flights to Paris from Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana, since 2015.

    The amounts reaching France have rocketed as Colombian and other Latin American drugs gangs have started exploiting Guiana as a ?back-door? to Europe, police say.

    Guiana is part of France but suffers from poverty, lawlessness and high youth unemployment, providing a ready supply of people willing to carry drugs to France in return for payments of as little as ?2,000 (?1,760).

    A police source said the youngest mule detected so far was aged 13, the oldest over 80.

    The ?mules? swallow plastic-wrapped packages of cocaine, on average carrying about 500 or 600 grams each in 50 small wraps of 12 grams each. ?They?re risking death if the plastic breaks,? a police source said.

    One mule arrested at Orly had swallowed 2.2 kilos of cocaine in 180 wraps.

    There are usually ?dozens of mules? among hundreds passengers arriving in Paris on two daily flights from Guiana, police and customs officers say. Before 2015, the number was estimated at only two or three.

    Police have been warning schoolchildren in Guiana not to be tempted by the prospect of easy money.

    Le Parisien newspaper quoted Eric Vaillant, the Cayenne prosecutor, as telling teenagers at one school: ?The traffickers are familiar with our criteria for identifying smugglers. They?ll use some of you as decoys.?

    Patrick Pichon, deputy head of Guiana?s customs service, said the authorities once identified ?waiting lists of candidates? to serve as ?mules? posted on social media.

    The majority of the ?mules? arrested are under 30 and most are jobless, police sources said.

    Some work independently of drugs gangs, buying a kilo of cocaine in Suriname, which borders French Guiana, for less than ?1,800 and selling it to dealers in France for more than ?30,000 ? or much more if ?retailed? to consumers.

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