Skip to main content

$270 million worth of cocaine found on Air France flight

By Holly Yan, CNN
September 24, 2013 -- Updated 1154 GMT (1954 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Venezuela says it has detained three members of the National Guard
  • The cocaine traveled in 30 colorful suitcases from Venezuela to France
  • The bags weren't registered to any of the passengers on the flight
  • Several people have been taken into custody, France's interior minister said

(CNN) -- There was something odd about the 30 suitcases that showed up on a flight from Venezuela. The colorful bags weren't registered to any of the passengers on the plane.

When French officials opened them up, they discovered why -- 1.3 tons of pure cocaine were stuffed inside the anonymous bags.

The street value of the stash? About 200 million euros, or $270 million.

$2.6 million in cocaine found in British woman's luggage

Coast Guard makes $20 million cocaine bust
Huge drug bust off the coast of Florida
Drug busts at sea: 4 tons of cocaine

The catch was made on September 11, but French authorities didn't publicize the find until Saturday.

On Sunday, Venezuela's Public Ministry said that authorities had detained three members of the National Guard in connection with the incident.

It wasn't immediately clear exactly what they are accused of doing.

Woman busted in Spain for cocaine in breast implants

The suitcases came from Caracas aboard an Air France flight to Paris, but did not match any of the passengers on board, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported.

"Several" people have been taken in custody, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls told reporters Saturday.

Authorities worked with Spanish, British and Dutch police on the investigation, BFMTV said.

This case "illustrates the importance of strengthening International cooperation in the fight against traffickers," Valls said.

Venezuelan authorities are also investigating. The Public Ministry said prosecutors will investigate, along with the Counterdrug Command of the National Guard in Simon Bolivar International Airport, to see if any criminal activity took place.

Suspected drug smugglers sail to jail

CNN's Christabelle Fombu and Nelson Quinones contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 0358 GMT (1158 HKT)
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT