The former head of France’s anti-drug agency OCRTIS has been accused of involvement with marijuana traffickers, according to the French newspaper Libération. OCRTIS is charged with directing police and customs.
François Thierry is accused of having let tens of tons of cannabis enter France over the past few years.
He is also accused of having recruited some of the biggest European traffickers for his efforts.
François Thierry has been the face of France’s drug war for the past six years, and regularly posed for photos with the largest seizures. He was known for his professionalism and poise, and was until now well-respected.
His involvement first came to the attention of French officials when customs intercepted 7.1 metric tonnes of cannabis in three trucks – a record for the French government. François Hollande, the French prime minister, made a personal visit to congratulate customs on the “fatal blow” to traffickers.
But an invoice in the truck, combined with DNA evidence, allowed the police to track down Sofiane Hambli, a well-known marijuana trafficker. Hambli was living in a 300 m2 penthouse in an apartment with an indoor pool. He paid 9000 Euro in rent per month in cash.
Hambli was listed as an informant for OCRTIS – he was allowed to import multiple tons of marijuana as “monitored delivery.” This technique is usually used to get evidence on resellers, but in this case, it seems that Hambli imported the drugs with impunity.
In fact, later investigation determined that a total of 15 metric tonnes were allowed to pass through French borders in October alone.
Sofiane Hambli has not admitted any agency in this, saying that he was simply following orders from OCRTIS. But the fact remains that he had been the largest Marijuana trafficker in France many times in the past – it now seems that the source of his recent successes was Thierry.
The accusations of corruption also bring into question many previous convictions – many controlled deliveries may have been on the basis of faulty information. It is hard to imagine that others at OCRTIS did not know about this. Whether or not their and François Thierry’s testimony can be considered trustworthy is also highly questionable.
Authorities have remained silent since the accusations. The investigators working on the case have said that they are not allowed to reveal details about the investigation.
Other senior police officers have pointed out that controlled deliveries are legal, although this is not true when the main person responsible is protected completely. Sofiane Hambli has not opened up, but he could hold key information on the responsibility of the government.