A French family from Haute-Savoie above all suspicion, with no criminal record… and united around an activity as lucrative as it is illegal: the manufacture and sale of narcotics.
This is the very rare profile of the structure dismantled last week by the gendarmes of the research section (SR) of Lyon with the support of the Loire and Haute-Savoie groups.
"This affair is reminiscent of the American series
for the uniqueness and autonomy of this family unit", recalls Colonel Laurent Lesaffre, boss of the SR of Lyon.
In this series, a chemistry professor at the end of his life embarks on drug trafficking with the help of one of his former students to provide for his family's financial needs. Here, in this Franco-French affair, the chemist is a young man under 30, "self-taught and without prior knowledge in chemistry", specifies an investigator. His laboratory was located in a suburban residence located in the Haute-Savoie department, near the Franco-Swiss border.
With time and accumulated experience, he had become an expert in the synthesis of MDMA (a drug generally used in a recreational context) and also knew how to make ketamine (an anesthetic possibly diverted into a narcotic product).
The gendarmes also suspect him of having transformed cocaine and made ecstasy pills.
Packages sent to Australia ...
But as it was impossible for him to take advantage of his technical skills alone, the young man benefited from the complicity of several of his relatives: his mother, his mother's companion, his brother and his sister. "The investigations made it possible to establish that each had been assigned a particular skill: packaging for some, shipping for others, often by post or through delivery services", develops Colonel Lesaffre .
Some products, such as MDMA in liquid form, could pass through wine bottles.
As for the orders, they were carried out through an encrypted messaging.
The scale of the traffic would go far beyond the framework of the Hexagon.
Packages would thus have been regularly sent, from nearby Switzerland, to the United States, Australia and even Taiwan.
In total, the traffic would have allowed its authors to collect nearly 2 million euros in profits over the last three years, mainly in the form of cryptocurrency.
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Spotted in 2018 on the Darknet (the most difficult part of the Internet to track), a suspicious profile reappeared on an encrypted messaging system in early 2020. Followed by the specialized interregional jurisdiction (Jirs) of Lyon, the case led to the arrests, on April 27, of the five people implicated.
"We proceeded to the arrests from the moment we had acquired the certainty that this family was functioning well in a closed network", specifies Colonel Lesaffre.
Four of them, the mother in her sixties and her three children, were indicted for the production, manufacture and export of narcotics and laundering products.
The chemist and his sister were remanded in custody.