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Paris - Air France said on Thursday it will take civil action in court after 1.3 tonnes of cocaine were smuggled into Paris on a flight from Venezuela.
The drugs were hidden in 30 suitcases and placed on a plane flying from Caracas to Paris on September 11.
The carrier said in a statement that it had launched an internal probe into the affair involving an illicit cargo worth 200 million euros ($270m).
It said the plane carrying 254 passengers had luggage corresponding to the people on board and 13 pieces of baggage belonging to those who had travelled on an earlier flight.
“The unidentified bags were introduced in an illicit way somewhere along the loading chain of containers due to be boarded onto the aircraft,” a statement said.
Air France said the “flight was carrying 11 baggage containers, two cargo containers and two pallets in its holds. These were all recorded and listed in the flight monitoring system, in line with company procedures.”
It said it had stepped up monitoring of the loading chain at some destinations.
Police say the drugs arrived in France on September 11 but were not seized until the 20th in order to let investigators monitor who was picking them up.
Venezuela has arrested 22 people including eight military staff and a local Air France deputy station manager, while three Italians and two Britons have been arrested in France.
The airline said the detention of its employee in Venezuela was a “normal procedure” and did not “imply any kind of responsibility nor any role in this affair.”