'Fast and Furious' French trafficker arrested in Bangkok

AP News
Posted: Nov 30, 2015 4:14 AM

BANGKOK (AP) — A French drug trafficker who was part of a notorious international network that authorities say copied tactics from Hollywood's "Fast and Furious" films was arrested in Bangkok, officials said Monday.

Andre Cabau, 39, was arrested Friday for having entered Thailand with a fake French passport and will be deported to continue serving a sentence in France on drug trafficking charges, said Thai and French police.

"He's a big fish," said Catherine Occhini, a French police attache at the French Embassy in Bangkok. "He was a big trafficker and specialized in moving drugs around Europe."

Cabau, who was arrested in 2005 in the French city of Marseille, was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to seven years in prison, but was released early on parole that required him to remain in France, Occhini said.

He absconded to Thailand, where police say he last entered in 2013 on a fake passport. He was living in a luxury apartment in central Bangkok with his Thai wife.

French authorities had worked with Interpol to track him and then alerted Thai police, Occhini said.

Cabau's network smuggled cocaine, ecstasy and other drugs from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg into France, according to a statement from Thai police.

"Their actions copied the famous movies "Fast and Furious," where they used high-speed cars to transport the drugs," said Thai police Gen. Wut Liptapanlop.

To emphasize the parallel, police showed a video clip of an apparently unrelated high-speed car chase at a news conference in Bangkok where Cabau sat handcuffed and told media, "Yes, I admit that I used high-speed cars."

Occhini said the network was highly organized and worked at night, using fleets of powerful cars to speed the contraband across Europe's open borders. Often, a scouting car would do a fast test drive past a police customs control and then alert other drivers carrying drugs that the coast was clear, she said.

"This case is important to us," Occhini said. She declined to say whether Cabau was being investigated for trafficking in Thailand.