French Police have seized a record 1.4 tonnes of Cocaine post transit from Le Havre.
The seizure, resulting in the arrest of five people, has been seen as a ‘severe blow’ to an international drug trafficking chain.
French authorities have suggested that it is the largest haul of cocaine to be confiscated in recent years.
The huge stash of narcotics was shipped to France aboard the CSAV Rio Nevado, a Liberian-registered vehicle carrier.
The vessel was travelling from Valparaiso, Chile.
The 1.4 tonne haul, with an estimated street value of €270 million, was found wrapped in plastic sheets and hidden inside a number of radial tyres being transported by a truck.
The truck in question was an active support vehicle used for logistical purposes at the Dakar rally – an off-road racing event.
This year the course ran through Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.
The arrests followed a tip-off from Bulgarian authorities, who informed members of the French embassy in Sofia, earlier this month.
The truck was tracked by police when it left Le Havre, before being intercepted several hours later on a motorway near Normandy. Two men were arrested at the scene.
A further two arrests have taken place in Bulgaria.
Whilst France’s drug enforcement agency has suggested that these four arrests have nothing to do with the rally, sources told Euro Weekly News that the arrests involve two members of the Spanish Epsilon racing team.
The source identifies the driver as Xavi Mora, with the other member only identified as J.B.
According to Spanish newspaper, El Pais, team coordinator David Olivares was detained at his home in Barcelona as part of the investigation.
He has been placed under preventive custody by the Spanish High Court, with a hearing to come soon as to whether Olivares will be extradited and handed to French authorities.
Anti-drug officials in France have suggested that the cocaine was more than likely produced in Colombia and Bolivia, before being forwarded to Chile in order to avoid detection.