AFP

Spain Brazil army drugs crime 24 Şubat 2020 - 17:16

Brazilian air force sergeant accepts jail for smuggling cocaine Madrid, Feb 24, 2020 (AFP) - A Brazilian air force sergeant who was caught last year with cocaine in his luggage during an official stopover in Spain accepted Monday a six-year prison sentence for drug smuggling. Spanish police arrested the air force sergeant in June 2019 after finding 39 kilos (86 pounds) of cocaine in his luggage while he was travelling as part of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's advance team for a G20 summit in Japan. His detention was a major embarrassment for Brazil's law-and-order president, a right-wing former army captain who has vowed to crack down on gangs that profit from drug trafficking and frequently praises the country's armed forces. Spanish public prosecutors on Monday offered the airman a prison sentence of six years and one day, instead of the eight years they had previously demanded, and his defence team accepted, a court spokesman told AFP on the last day of the trial in the southern city of Seville. Bolsonaro had called for a "severe punishment" for the airman if he was found guilty and ordered an investigation into the affair. Brazil's air force has since announced tighter controls to prevent smuggling on its planes. According to Brazilian media the airman joined the air force in 2000 and carried out at least 29 trips in Brazil and abroad after joining a team charged with transporting top government officials in 2010. The Brazilian president's son Eduardo Bolsonaro, a federal lawmaker who has counselled his father on foreign affairs, has lashed out in the past against neighbouring Venezuela for allegedly trafficking drugs in its own air force planes, calling it a "narco-dictatorship". Brazil has become a key transit route for cocaine produced in Andean countries and smuggled to Europe via West Africa. du/ds/mg/gd

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