French mayor arrested after 70kg of cannabis found at home

20 gold bars and almost a kilo of cocaine were also found in searches, which also took place at the mairie, and the pharmacy where she works

The mairie of Avallon was among the buildings to be searched in connection with the case
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Large quantities of cannabis, cocaine, gold bars, and cash have been found at the home of a mayor in central-eastern France, the local prosecutor has said.

Mayor Jamilah Habsaoui has been in police custody since Sunday, April 7, after 70 kilos of cannabis, just under a kilo of cocaine, 20 gold bars, and €7,000 in cash were seized in searches linked to the case in Avallon in Yonne (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté).

Several homes, including Ms Habsaoui’s house; the mairie; and the pharmacy where Ms Habsaoui works were all searched in the investigation.

"This is the culmination of a major investigation that has been conducted by the Avallon research brigade for several weeks,” public prosecutor of Auxerre, Hugues de Phily, told France 3 Bourgogne.

“It's been a lengthy process, which culminated on Sunday with the arrest of several people in connection with a drug trafficking operation that is likely to be quite extensive.

“I can confirm that the mayor of Avallon, Jamilah Habsaoui, and her entourage, are among those in police custody. She could potentially be charged with possession," he said.

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‘Lucrative operation’

The drugs and money seized suggest “a fairly lucrative operation”, said Mr de Phily.

Seven people have been taken into custody and several homes have been searched, he added, explaining that the investigation began several weeks ago, and linked several investigations.

“Yesterday, it took a new turn with searches and police custody. We are now entering a new phase,” he said, as questioning continues.

French law allows people to be held in police custody for up to 24 hours, but in cases involving drug offences, this can be extended to 96 hours. At this point, the prosecutor must make a decision to prosecute, or dismiss the case.

Ms Habsaoui became mayor of Avallon in 2021, after having worked for her predecessor, Jean-Yves Caullet.