The flight originated at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital. An Air France executive in Venezuela, six airline employees, a security guard and a loading platform supervisor are among those arrested. Eight members of the Venezuelan national guard are also in custody and were scheduled to appear in front of a judge Wednesday afternoon for a preliminary hearing. On September 11, French authorities discovered 1.3 tons of pure cocaine stuffed inside 30 suitcases on the flight. The colorful bags did not match any of the passengers on board, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported. Coast Guard makes $20 million cocaine bust Huge drug bust off the coast of Florida Drug busts at sea: 4 tons of cocaine The street value of the stash is about 200 million euros, or $270 million. Woman busted in Spain for cocaine in breast implants Authorities worked with Spanish, British and Dutch police on the investigation, BFMTV said. This case “illustrates the importance of strengthening International cooperation in the fight against traffickers,” French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said. Suspected drug smugglers sail to jail In Venezuela, authorities promised a swift investigation as soon as the confiscation was announced in Paris. All 17 arrests were made in less than three days. Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres told reporters in Venezuela that authorities think an organized crime group with Italian and British members is responsible for the shipment. “The suitcases were not taken into the plane through the regular baggage platforms at the airport.

France Wins 2013 ISA World Longboard Championship in Peru

I got the first wave of the heat, which was an 8, and I was really lucky to get that one,” commented the South African in her post-heat interview. “It’s really cool to be the first Female ISA World Longboard Champion. I’m really happy. My kids will wear my Medal when I get back home. This event was amazing and the other women were so nice to compete against; they were all are really friendly.” In the Open Men’s Final, France’s Antoine Delpero won the Gold after posting two big scores of 9.00 and 8.20, an impressive total heat score of 17.20. Great Britain’s Ben Skinner had been in form all event, but felt just short in the Final, earning 15.60 and the Silver Medal. Brazil’s Phil Rajzman won the Bronze Medal, earning 12.03 and South Africa’s Thomas King the Copper Medal (11.97). “It was a really hard and close Final, and everyone got good waves,” said Delpero as he waved his third ISA Gold Medal in his career having previously won Gold in the Longboard division of the ISA World Surfing Games in 2009 and SUP Surfing in the 2012 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship. “You never know if you’re going to have a good wave because the wave doesn’t opens up until near the end, where the strong scoring potential of the wave is. I tried to do my best and I’m super happy about that!” The last event in the 2013 ISA World Longboard Championship was the exciting ISA Aloha Cup, a tag-team competition. The Aloha Cup Final featured Australia, Brazil, France, and Peru. Team France featuring the Gold Medalist Delpero, his younger brother Edouard, Justine Dupont and Martin Coret won the Gold Medal exhibiting a smart strategy and displaying high-level surfing longboarding skills. The French defeated Peru (Silver), Australia (Bronze) and Brazil (Copper), as the largest crowd of the event cheered them on. Following the competition, the Closing Ceremony took place to present all of the medals and trophies, and to bring an end to an incredible week in one of the most historic surfing communities in the world.

Harsh treatment of Roma in France draws scrutiny

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls provoked anger Tuesday for saying the Roma migrants had a “duty to return to their homeland” – and despite a wave of criticism, refused to back down Wednesday. Valls said the Roma had failed to integrate and that France had no responsibility to them. “We don’t have the obligation to welcome these populations, we need to say it clearly and calmly. It is not about stigmatizing a population, but facing the truth,” he said. John Dalhuisen, Amnesty’s Europe and Central Asia program director, offered a different interpretation. “The Roma have a duty to live in misery. That’s how the comments of the interior minister should be translated,” Dalhuisen said. In Romania, Marian Mandache, director of rights group the Romani Criss, called the French minister’s comments a “populist ruse.” “The French minister is discriminating against an ethnic group, it is a breach of the right to free circulation and a breach of other human rights,” she told The Associated Press. The EU justice chief, Viviane Reding, shot back Wednesday at the French government, accusing it of holding Romania and Bulgaria hostage to domestic French politics. Immigration is a sensitive issue amid campaigning for upcoming municipal elections across France. Reding accused the French government of using tensions over the Roma to distract voters from more serious economic problems. “There’s an election in the air in France,” Reding said on France-Info radio. “Every time they don’t want to talk about important things like the budget or debts, they find the Roma.” In a rare statement commenting on both news reports and Reding’s remarks, the French Interior Ministry said Valls “attentively ensures respect of national and European rules.” The minister also noted that “the Romanian government has several times reiterated that the responsibility for integrating Roma of Romanian nationality was first of all the business of Romanian authorities,” the statement said.