Romanian truck driver handed jail sentence, 1.7 million-euro fine in France for smuggling cannabis resin

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A French court has handed a five-year prison sentence to a Romanian truck driver and fined him 1.7 million euros after he was caught trying to smuggle 900 kilograms of cannabis hidden among crates of lemons.

France Bleu reported the unnamed man was caught on May 17 at the French-Spanish border crossing near Le Perthus in south France. Border police found 900 kilograms hidden among the lemons.

A trial followed and he was sentenced and fined on May 21, the publication La Depeche said. He is banned from entering France for 10 years after his sentence, according to head of the Perpignan customs, Benoir Gdart said. He provided details of the sentencing.

The driver was trying to reach Germany with the drugs.

It is the latest drugs haul in the area, officials said.

Drugs officers found 845 kilograms of cannabis on 16 April in a truck. On the same day customs officers in Hendaye in southwestern France stopped a truck that was transporting more than 1.1 tons of cannabis.

Two days later, officers in the southern Port-Vendres area found more than half a ton of  cannabis resin hidden in a truck that was carrying lettuce to Italy.

In mid-April, customs officers discovered three tons of cannabis resin hidden in a truckload of tomatoes in the southern city of Arles at a toll point.

In 2020, customs services in the Eastern Pyrenees confiscated 9.4 tons of narcotics, about 10% of all narcotic hauls in France that year.

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