French drug runners sentenced

A French couple who were the ringleaders in a major drug running operation believed to be linked to the Mafia in Marseilles, France, have been jailed by a Faro court.

Julie Carrette received a 10-year sentence and her accomplice Pierre Buroni got five years after a lengthy trial which started at the beginning of December 2012.

The pair were convicted of drug trafficking but charges of money laundering, possession of firearms and alleged connections with the Mafia in Marseilles were left on the files.

They had been arrested in June 2011 when police, in an anti-drugs smuggling operation, seized 872 kilos of cocaine grown in Venezuela and transported by boat to Portugal, from where it was to be distributed throughout Europe.

The court heard that Julie Carrette had masterminded the smuggling operation in co-operation with her father Jacques Carrette who, by a tragic twist of irony, died in a road accident on the A22 shortly before the consignment of cocaine reached the Algarve shores in June 2011.

At the time, Julie Carrette was residing in Montenegro, Faro.

The boat which transported the drugs was intercepted in the Caribbean and two other men were arrested and await deportation to face trial in Portugal.