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Robert Dawes case: the backstage troubles of a record cocaine seizure


The lawyer for Robert Dawes, a Briton heavily convicted in the case of the seizure of more than a ton of coke at Roissy in 2013, has de

In July 2020, after his client's conviction on appeal to 22 years in prison for importing more than a ton of cocaine into France, Mr. Thomas Bidnic warned: “The Robert Dawes affair is really starting.

“Promise kept since the Parisian lawyer has just lodged a complaint with the constitution of civil party on April 2 in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine) for forgery and use of forgery in public writing.

As a backdrop to this complaint against X, it is the controversial methods of the former boss of the Central Office for the Suppression of Illicit Traffic in Narcotics (OCRTIS), Commissioner François Thierry, which are called into question.

At the origin of this case, there is the largest seizure of cocaine ever made in metropolitan France.

On September 11, 2013, the anti-drug police intercepted around thirty suitcases on arrival at Roissy airport of the Air France flight Caracas (Venezuela) - Paris.

The cases contain 1,332 kg of white powder, or a market value of around 50 million euros.

An undercover operation was set up which resulted in the arrest of five intermediaries.

Meanwhile, the hunt for the sponsor continues.

On a sound system produced by the Spanish police in September 2014, the Briton Robert Dawes speaks to two Colombian traffickers: “You know, in Venezuela, the great story I made there, I made 1,200 in the briefcases, you saw the thing in the press… ”Nicknamed the“ Drug Lord ”, the native of Nottingham is considered by justice as a major player in international trafficking.

Arrested in his villa in Malaga (Spain) in 2015, he was extradited to France where he was sentenced at first instance and then on appeal to 22 years in prison by the Assize Court, in particular on the basis of this sound system.

The person has always explained that this conversation was a provocation.

A porter and an infiltration

But for his lawyer, the case is too good.

Me Bidnic denounces the genesis of the whole operation.

Officially, it all started with information that reached OCRTIS on the night of September 10 to 11, 2013, at 12:30 am, from the Venezuelan anti-drug office.

In any case, this is what Commissioner François Thierry wrote in a report in the early morning.

"It's a first lie," Me Bidnic rebukes.

The Venezuelan authorities indicated that they had been informed of this seizure by an AFP dispatch of September 21, when it was made public.


Still, thanks to this "tip", four OCRTIS officers went urgently to Roissy on September 11.

Where they intercept on the tarmac the suspect suitcases, temporarily kept in a warehouse.

A 9:15 am report attests to this.

Commissioner François Thierry, former boss of narcotics, was indicted in another case for complicity in drug trafficking and then forgery in public writing.

LP / Olivier Lejeune

One hour later, at 10:15 am, on the same September 11, 2013, François Thierry wrote a new report: "Let us receive the following information from a regular service informant: he is in contact with a porter working at Roissy CDG, who confided that he had to undergo unfriendly pressure from determined individuals to remove excess baggage in the hold of the plane coming from Caracas today (…).

Overwhelmed by the scale of the task to be accomplished and fearing reprisals from the organization, he asked the informant for the latter to subcontract the service he was supposed to provide ”.

Also according to this report, the porter who should have initially received the cocaine gives the informant the phone on which the traffickers must reach him.

This is the starting point of the infiltration, entrusted to the interministerial technical assistance service (SIAT).

François Thierry's number one indicator

But in the defense of Robert Dawes, this version does not stick to reality.

"Today, everyone knows that the informant of the commissioner was Sophiane Hambli", underline Me Bidnic and his partner Me Georges Tsigaridis.

The trafficker has long been François Thierry's number one indicator.

The one thanks to which he achieved his finest business, but also the one who contributed to his downfall.

During an investigation into another record seizure, the incestuous links between the two men as well as the officer's “borderline” methods came to light.

In 2017 and again in 2019, the commissioner was indicted for complicity in drug trafficking and then forgery in public writing - he is in particular suspected of having organized false police custody to protect his informant.

Sofiane Hambli was François Thierry's number one indicator.


Sophiane Hambli himself admitted that he was involved behind the scenes of the Air France flight operation.

“For example, there was an importation of cocaine at Roissy in 2013 and I made people believe that it was I who was going to allow the cocaine to be taken out of the airport.

In fact, it was a virtual service, he claims during an interrogation in March 2018 (...).

In this example, I made believe that I knew people who worked at the airport and who were going to make it possible to get drugs out, and OCRTIS had everyone arrested, more exactly the SIAT which was infiltrated.


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In his complaint, Me Bidnic adds that Commissioner François Thierry himself mentioned the role of Sophiane Hambli: "the case for which he was the best paid, it was a case in September 2013 in Roissy with the seizure of 1.3 tonnes of cocaine ”, admitted the police officer during an interrogation in January 2018.

"That day he was in detention"

“Sophiane Hambli having been the sole informant of the case, he could not be given a cell phone by the alleged baggage handler of Roissy for the good and simple reason that, that day, he was in detention, insists Me. Bidnic.

In addition, the telephone has never stopped near the airport.

One does not send such a quantity of drug without being certain of its reception, but the only reception committee was made up of police officers.


Heard as a witness during the two trials of Robert Dawes, François Thierry defended each time the integrity of his investigation and its official genesis.

In parallel with this complaint, the Briton's defense appealed against his conviction, which will be examined on April 14.

“His appeal trial was a masquerade, denounce Mes Bidnic and Tsigaridis.

The sound system for which he is accused, for example, has never been heard at the hearing despite our requests.


Source: leparis

All tech articles on 2021-04-07

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