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Minister orders drug squad audit

Investigation ordered after detective is arrested in connection with theft of 52kg of cocaine from police headquarters

INTERIOR minister Bernard Cazeneuve has ordered a “rigorous and thorough audit” of the French drug squad after nearly 52kg of cocaine was taken from police headquarters.

In an interview with Le Parisien, Mr Cazaneuve revealed that he had asked the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN). He said that he wanted “methods, procedured and professional practices” to be scrutinised.

A 34-year-old drug squad officer was arrested on Saturday, while on holiday in Perpignan, on suspicion of taking the drugs, which have an estimated street value of €2.5million. It has been reported that the officer can be questioned for up to 96 hours before being charged.

The officer was arrested after someone answering his description was filmed by CCTV cameras entering and leaving the police headquarters at 36 quai des Orfèvres carrying two bags, police and prosecutors said in a statement.

Some of the arrested officer’s colleagues have also been questioned in connection with the theft. The drugs had been kept in a high-security area, with anyone entering the room required to sign in and be accompanied by another officer authorised to have a key.

According to reports, searches have taken place in Perpignan and at the officer’s home in Paris.

The drugs had been seized in early July in raids on houses in the 18th and 19th arrondissements of Paris as police broke up a trafficking network.

Sniffer dogs were used to search the quai des Orfèvres offices of France’s equivalent of Scotland Yard on Thursday evening, after the cocaine was reported missing from a secure storage room.

Photo: Jean Menjoulet

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