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French Air Cocaine escape plotter jailed in Dominican Republic

media Christophe Naudin arrives in court in 2016 AFP PHOTO / Erika SANTELICES ERIKA SANTELICES / AFP

A Frenchman has been jailed for five years in the Dominican Republic for having helped two of his compatriots escape while their appeal against convictions in the "Air Cocaine" drug-smuggling case was pending.

Christophe Naudin, a criminoligist and aviation security expert, was found guilty of criminal conspiracy and violating drug laws for helping pilots Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos flee to France after they were sentenced to 20 years for drug trafficking.

Thursday's verdict validated an agreement with the Dominican Public Prosecutor's Office under which Naudin had agreed to plead guilty, spend five years in prison and to pay a 28,000-euro fine.

Naudin was ordered to serve his sentence in Najayo prison, near Santo Domingo, where he has been detained since March 2016 after his extradition from Egypt.

The deal raised the possibility that Naudin could serve his sentence in France, if the French state requests he do so, and his lawyers said earlier this month that there should be agreement on the question within three weeks.

Interpol has issued international arrest warrants for Fauret and Odos, as well as for Aymeric Chauprade, a Euro-MP forrmerly of the far-right National Front, who helped with the escape along with European parliamentary assistant Pierre Malinowski.

The two pilots were arrested in March 2013 on board a Falcon 50 aircraft as they prepared to take off for the French resort of Saint Tropez with 680 kilos of concaine on board.

Two other French nationals who were on board, Nicolas Pisapia and Alain Castany, are still in the Dominican Republic after being sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2016

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