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Prison error after cops mistake soap for dope

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Prison error after cops mistake soap for dope
Photo of the seized cargo that was mistaken for drugs. Photo: Guardia Civil
10:39 CET+01:00
A French businessman has been awarded €8,400 in compensation for serving jail time after Spanish police mistook the soap he was transporting for cocaine.

Jacques Benoit Fiocconi spent two months in prison accused of drugs trafficking after a faulty drugs test implied he was smuggling cocaine when in fact, he was transporting a shipment of soap.

The Frenchman had asked the Spanish Ministry of Justice for €83,000 ($90,000) in compensation for economic losses and moral damage caused by his time in prison but was awarded €8,400, which works out as €120 per day he spent in prison, plus interest.

Fiocconi was imprisoned for over two months between November 23rd 2012 and February 4th 2013 and was only released when an analysis by the National Toxicology Institute ruled out the presence of cocaine in the seized bars of soap.

Fiocconi was arrested, along with his father Laurent on the AP-7 motorway heading towards France. He was driving a van packed with 2,850 bars of soap according to Catalan daily La Vanguardia.

Laurent was previously a known associate of the legendary Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar and went by the name El Mago, or The Magician.

The father-son pair had bought the 350kg cargo of soap in a perfume factory in Figueres, Girona and were planning to sell it on the French island of Corsica, where Fiocconi lived.

Officers from Spain’s Civil Guard conducted a “narcotest” on five bars of soap chosen at random, which tested positive for cocaine, resulting in the arrest of both men.

But analysis by the National Toxicology Institute (INT) found no trace of cocaine in the 72 bars handed over for inspection.

After the INT analysis Fiocconi was released from prison and all charges were dropped but his father remained in custody, implicated in a different investigation involving drugs trafficking between Corsica and Marseille. 

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