French Court Acquits Pilots in 'Air Cocaine' Case

Authorities had found 1,500 pounds of cocaine in a jet passenger’s suitcases.

The pilots of Dassault Falcon 50 F-GXMC  were acquitted on appeal yesterday by the French court of Aix-en-Provence in a case that resulted from their March 2013 arrest in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, just before takeoff for Saint-Tropez, France. Authorities had found 1,500 pounds of cocaine on board in approximately 20 suitcases belonging to the jet's passenger. Pilots Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos had each faced six years of prison in France.

Air Charter Operator Guilty Of Cocaine Charges

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Air Charter Operator Guilty Of Cocaine Charges

Khamraj Lall was convicted of conspiracy to distribute the drug via his Exec Jet Club business.

They escaped to the French territory of Saint Martin before being handed a separate 20-year prison sentence from a Dominican tribunal in August 2015 for their “connection to commit international drug smuggling.” The French court of Aix-en-Provence then opened its own case into what has been called “Air Cocaine” and in April 2019 found the pilots guilty.

Yesterday, the French court confirmed the sentences for other defendants in the case but acquitted Fauret and Odos. According to a report in Le Monde, the acquittal came after a “key figure”—someone found guilty of being an intermediary between the drug smuggler and the charter operator (now-defunct SN-THS, then trading as Aerojet Corporate)—told the judge that the pilots had been “scammed."