Dominican Republic jails 4 Frenchmen for cocaine smuggling

Dominican Republic jails 4 Frenchmen for cocaine smuggling
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A court in the Dominican Republic has sentenced four Frenchmen to 20 years in prison for involvement in a 700 kilogram shipment of cocaine.

The three-judge panel ruled unanimously on the charge of association to commit international drug trafficking, and also sentenced four Dominicans to terms of between five and 10 years.

Attorneys for the French citizens said their clients are innocent and that they will appeal.

Pilots Pascal Jean Fauret and Bruno Odos were arrested in March 2013 along with flight assistant Alain Castany and passenger Nicolas Pisapia while preparing to fly a rented Falcon 50 jet from the Punta Cana tourist area to St. Tropez in France.

Authorities seized the cocaine inside 26 suitcases they said belonged to Pisapia, which he denied.

His lawyer, Julian Pinelli, accused authorities of falsifying evidence and setting his client up.

During the seizure, authorities detained more than 40 military officials and government workers, of which only 10 were formally accused.

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