A 50-year-old Romanian truck driver has been sentenced to five years in jail and banned for 10 years from France for transporting 900 kilograms of cannabis hidden in a truck of lemons. The sentence was accompanied by a fine of EUR 1.7 million.
A lorry driver of Romanian nationality was arrested on French territory last week for transporting 900 kilograms of cannabis resin hidden in his truck. On May 17, the 50-year-old driver was leaving Spain for Germany but came to the attention of customs officials in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of Southern France.
They captured and confiscated the illegal drugs in Le Perthus (Catalan: El Pertús) hidden in the middle of a lemon shipment, reports French news portal France Bleu.
The seizure led to a quick trial. The final ruling was issued on May 21: The Romanian truck driver was sentenced to five years in prison and must pay a hefty EUR 1.7 million fine. Another French portal, La Depeche, reported only a EUR 1.5 million fine. In addition, the driver was banned for 10 years from French territory.
In 2020, the customs services of the Pyrénées-Orientales seized a total of 9.4 tonnes of narcotics (up from 7.2 tonnes in 2019). The 9.4 tonnes represented more than 10 percent of the total volume of seizures made in France.
Title image: Customs officers seized 900 kilograms of cannabis in a truck in Perthus. Image source: Regional Customs Directorate/France Bleu