France -The Inter-Regional Specialized Jurisdiction of Rennes (JIRS) condemned, last weekend, a Spaniard and a Frenchman to seven and eight years’ imprisonment.
The two men had been arrested off Penmarc’h on August 28, 2015, when they had detonated their sailboat at the arrival of Marine commandos come to board her.
The two skippers were convicted of drug trafficking and conspiracy. They were suspected of carrying more than one tonne of cocaine on board their craft.
At the beginning of August 2015, the British Secret Service warned France that a ship filled with cocaine was leaving Guyana in the direction of the metropolis. The boat was followed by satellite during its crossing. On 26 August, a reconnaissance aircraft flew over the sailboat over the Bay of Biscay. The boat immediately changed its course to the north.
On the morning of 28th of August, at the moment when the Marine commandos set out for the assault off Penmarc’h, they heard four explosions and the ship completely burned. Among the debris recovered was a loaf of one kilo of cocaine.
Since their arrest in the open sea the morning of August 2015, the French and Spanish skippers had denied any trafficking of cocaine charges. The hearing before the Criminal Court of Rennes (Thursday, January 26) will have made a little progress. The Frenchman admitted that “everything suggests that there was cocaine in the boat. But I was not aware. He claimed that he was with his Spanish friend going on a world trip.
The two men met “in a bar in Madrid”. For several months the Frenchman had lived under the identity of another man. He was in hiding from the law after being sentenced to 10 years jail for manslaughter.
“I went to separate a fight. I got hit with a knife that cost me a kidney. I defended myself and the other man died,” he said, lifting his shirt to reveal a huge scar. Sentenced to five years in the first instance by the Spanish courts, he took 10 years on appeal. He then decided to “go live at sea”.
“I was ferrying boats between the Caribbean and South America ,” he said, indicating that the trip to which he was arrested was his first transatlantic crossing. For his part, the Spaniard, who had also denied any trafficking until now, admitted that he had been given the 200,000 euros to buy the boat that served the crossing. He did not want to give the name of his contact.
“We understand that the fear of the organization that used you is superior to the sentence of this tribunal,” recognized the judge Laurent Léger. It is estimated that over 40 million euros in merchandise was on board.
The Frenchman was sentenced to eight years in prison for trafficking and six months for identity theft. The Spaniard, who had never dealt with justice, was sentenced to seven years in prison. (lecourrier-leprogres)
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