The bizarre and somewhat disturbing drama around the disappearance of 52kg of cocaine from the care of the police in Paris continues
Yesterday, a second member of the “Stups” (slang for narcotics squad – short for stupéfiants) was arrested in relation to the affair after investigators found €20,000 in cash at the home of the main suspect in the case.
The investigation is being led by the internal police investigators IGPN (Inspection Générale de la Police Nationale). They are following a line of inquiry based on a crooked cop in the elite Police Judiciaire in Paris. The investigation was sparked at the end of July when 52kg of seized cocaine disappeared from the PJ headquarters at 36 Quai des Orfèvres in Paris.
“The man appears on bank statements of the agent picked on Saturday in Perpignan,” said a police source, who said that the man in question was suspected of having facilitated the main suspect in gaining access to the room where the valuable evidence was kept.
Since Saturday, the “policemen’s police” have been questioning a 34-year-old agent named “Jonathan” who has been working in the “Stups” for a a few years. The number one suspect was arrested in Perpignan in the South of France, where he had been on holiday with family members. He was transferred by plane to Paris (see main pic).
Jonathan’s distinctive athletic silhouette was apparently caught on video surveillance cameras at the PJ headquarters. When shown to four separate colleagues by the IGPN investigators, they all identified the same man. Furthermore, a security guard witnessed a man bearing the same description leaving the building in the middle of the night, carrying “two large plastic bags”.
Follow-up operations in Paris and Perpignan led to the discovery of the €20,000 in cash, “a good deal of which was found on the suspect when he was arrested in Perpignan,” according to a source close to the case. When asked where he got the money, the suspect said that he had won it gambling on-line. His wife was also questioned to explain the source of the money and the lifestyle that they were leading.
The open bravado (or stupidity) of the style in which the suspect appears to have carried out the theft raises some questions: Is this as far as the corruption goes within the narcotics division of the PJ? How many other times has he done this? Most importantly, how could a seasoned police officer who was quite well regarded by his colleagues and skilled in investigation techniques come up with such a seemingly hair-brained get-rich-quick plan?
“He hadn’t worked on the Parisian case that led to that 52kg seizure at the start of July, but he was interested in it and asked lots of questions about it,” said one colleague. “Lately, two arrest operations failed under strained circumstances. In one of them, the dealers found the tracking devices under their car.”
Stranger still was the behaviour of the agent even after his cover was blown. “In Perpignan where he was, and even after the whole thing was out in the open, he continued very calmly to phone his colleagues to follow the progress of the investigation and to talk about other cases he was involved with,” says one colleague close to Jonathan.
As for the drugs themselves (with an estimated street value of €2 million), there is still no sign. Moreover, the suspect has been hindering the police in accessing different addresses where they think the cocaine might be. The twisted policeman owns no less than seven apartments in Perpignan and another in Paris.
Meanwhile, the property-owning running enthusiast is continuing to deny the huge evidence building on top of him. As the investigations continue, one feels that there will be more interesting revelations to come.