At press time a French-operated Falcon 50 was grounded in the Dominican Republic, according to a TV report by France’s TF1, after it was involved in a major drug bust in Punta Cana in March. The Dominican counter-drug police discovered about 1,500 pounds of cocaine (with a street value of approximately $26 million) packed in 26 suitcases placed in the hold and the cabin. The three French pilots and one French passenger were arrested just before takeoff, with the engines already running for a departure to Saint-Tropez Airport, France, according to TF1. All four people were jailed.
Owned by French eyeglass manufacturing entrepreneur Alain Afflelou, F-GXMC was being operated by Lyon Bron Airport-based Aerojet Corporate, a resurgence of now-defunct THS.
Afflelou has denied any knowledge of illegal use of his airplane, according to Le Parisien.
“There is something wrong if you have no celebrity on board and 26 suitcases,” a source familiar with the charter operator told AIN. A report in the JDD newspaper suggests the French police were already monitoring the aircraft, due to repeated suspect trips to Saint-Tropez.