4 Frenchmen jailed in Dominican Republic for drug running
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Four Frenchmen were sentenced Friday, August 14, to 20 years in prison in the Dominican Republic for drug trafficking.
Pilot Pascal Fauret, co-pilot Bruno Odos, passenger Nicolas Pisapia and alleged broker Alain Castany were arrested in March 2013 as they were about to take off from the Caribbean resort of Punta Cana.
Dominican authorities say they were preparing to take off in a mid-size Dassault Falcon 50 jet with 26 suitcases carrying 680 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of cocaine.
After deliberations lasting 10 hours, the court found the men guilty of the "crime of associating to ... possess illegal drugs."
Of the 10 Dominicans charged with complicity in the case, six were acquitted and four others given sentences ranging from five to 10 in prison.
The lawyer for the French pilots, Maria Elena Gratereaux, said she would appeal.
The Frenchmen have always protested their innocence and had argued they did not know the drugs were on the plane.
The long-delayed trial was dubbed in French media as the "Air Cocaine" affair. – Rappler.com