More than two tonnes of cocaine packed in bags washed up on the English Channel coastline last weekend and Wednesday, with an estimated retail value of almost 150 million euros.
Investigators are still following the trail. Sunday morning, on the beach of Réville (Manche), several bags containing approximately 850 kg of cocaine had been discovered. And on Wednesday, six new bags washed up on the coast, in Vicq-sur-Mer. This time, according to a source familiar with the matter, confirming information from West France, it is a ton and a half of cocaine, making a total of 2.3 tons, which is “historical”.
On Wednesday, the maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea recalled that an investigation had been opened at the beginning of the week by the prosecutor’s office of Cherbourg, the follow-up of the investigation being entrusted to the research section of Caen (Calvados ), the maritime gendarmerie and Ofast, the office dedicated to the fight against drug trafficking.
Trace the path of the bags
The origin of the hermetically sealed bales that washed up on the Cotentin coast is not established, but the most serious track leads to Brazil. They may have been deliberately thrown into the sea to avoid control or fell off a ship on their own, said a source familiar with the matter. Sometimes the bundles are secured to the hull of the boat and not placed inside and can unhook depending on the state of the sea, added another source familiar with the matter.
Investigators must now try to trace the route of these bags. The maritime prefecture affirmed that a “Special surveillance of the maritime approaches to the North Cotentin sector was maintained and ensured by air means”. “New overflights as well as maritime patrols are carried out”, she added. In the early afternoon, he “there had been no new discoveries of narcotics”the maritime prefecture said in a tweet on Thursday.
This is not the first time that cocaine has arrived on the French coast. At the end of 2019, bales containing a total of 1.6 tonnes of white powder had washed up on the beaches of an area ranging from Saint-Jean-de-Luz (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) to Camaret (Finistère). More recently, at the end of May 2022, breads of cocaine, for a total of around 21 kg, were found on a beach in Berck (Pas-de-Calais).
On Wednesday, during a press conference devoted to the 2022 results of the fight against drug trafficking, Gabriel Attal, Minister of Public Accounts in charge of customs, announced a “historic” seizure of 1.9 tonnes of cocaine at the port. of Le Havre on February 19 by its services. “We must prevent this white tsunami from reaching our shores”, he added. In 2022, 27.7 tons of this drug were seized, an increase of 5% compared to the previous year.