France: Surprise Packages

Surprise Packages

Unlike ordinary mail, letters and packages sent between embassies and their home countries travel through inspection-free systems of their own. Last week French authorities learned just how laid-back -- and lucrative -- such deliveries can be. Police investigators charged Patrick Schaller, 29, and Pierre Bessonat, 30, two law-enforcement officers stationed in Mulhouse, a town in northeastern France, with using the diplomatic mailbag for the illegal purchase and importation of arms from Lebanon; both formerly held security posts in France's embassy in Beirut. At least a dozen men had been implicated in the arms-trafficking affair, including embassy chief of security Jean- Claude...

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