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
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1921 GMT (0321 HKT)
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1757 GMT (0157 HKT)
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT