A French customs officer weighs sealed marihuana
3 March 2020

Two operations against drug trafficking produce exceptional results

Christophe Castaner, Minister of the Interior, and Laurent Nuñez, Minister of State attached to the Minister of the Interior, applaud the remarkable efforts of the Anti-Drug Office (OFAST) and all the services working under the Judicial Authority, as well as France’s international partners, following the major drug seizures made on 27 February 2020.

"I would like to congratulate the law enforcement agencies and all OFAST staff who made these two seizures possible and to applaud our foreign partners. These two highly successful operations are extremely encouraging. However, they should only be the beginning. We must continue to work hard and take strong action. We will never let our guard down in the face of drug trafficking."
Christophe Castaner, Minister of the Interior

These seizures deal a serious blow to criminal networks. They cement the very promising initial successes of the new system set up to fight drug trafficking.

Hence, on 27 February 2020:
  • 3.3 tonnes of cocaine originating from America and bound for Marseille were seized as part of an international police operation and three people suspected of being responsible for retrieving this cargo were arrested in Marseille by investigators from the Anti-Drug Office. This seizure was possible thanks to a tip-off made to the OFAST office in Marseille;
  • 4.8 tonnes of cannabis resin were seized at Villepinte by OFAST investigators and several people suspected of involvement in international drug trafficking from Morocco via Spain were arrested.
Drug trafficking is a scourge with serious consequences in terms of security, health and social exclusion. It breeds all forms of crime and violence as well as arms trafficking. For example, 80% of score-settling is the result of drug trafficking.

In response to this scourge, the Government has decided to introduce tough measures. While 2019 showed some satisfactory results (with an 11.4% increase in the number of drug trafficking cases prosecuted compared with 2018 and a 10.4% increase in the number of people charged with drug trafficking), in September 2019, the Government decided to step up its action further by launching a plan to eliminate drug trafficking through additional resources, more effective organisation and the sharing of information between all services of the State.

On 1 January this year, the new Anti-Drug Office, OFAST, became fully operational. With 170 agents at the end of the year, OFAST is a service which is outstanding in its organisation, bringing together police officers, gendarmes, judges and customs officers and being based both at its headquarters in Nanterre and in the territories through 11 regional branches and 5 local units. OFAST’s territorial presence will be reinforced with the upcoming creation of 6 additional units in the regions and two overseas offices.

OFAST is thus the nerve centre in the fight against drug trafficking, enabling better coordination of investigations under the authority of the public prosecutors’ offices and optimal intelligence sharing between all services.

Following a January marked by excellent results in terms of drug seizures, seizures made in February are confirmation of this trend and OFAST’s initial highly positive results.
"OFAST’s initial results fully confirm our approach is working: information sharing, presence across the territories, and full cooperation between the various forces and at international level. We must continue steadfastly along this path."
Laurent Nuñez, Minister of State attached to the Minister of the Interior

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