Convicted 'Air Cocaine' French pilots flee Dominican Republic

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Dominican Republic to Demand International Warrants

A French pilot who fled the Dominican Republic in what appeared to be a well-planned escape by speedboat after being convicted of drug trafficking said on Tuesday that he did so to get his story heard.

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Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos were sentenced to 20 years in prison for bringing drugs into the country by private plane.

They deny the charges and had been free to move around under judicial supervision while awaiting an appeal in what has been dubbed the "Air Cocaine" case by French media.

The Attorney General of the Dominican Republic, Francisco Dominguez, said on Tuesday the Justice Ministry would review international protocols and work through diplomatic channels to seek the pilot's extradition from France.

In a press conference Dominguez said he had already requested an international arrest warrant for the pilots.

See photos from the case:

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French 'Air Cocaine' pilots
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Convicted 'Air Cocaine' French pilots flee Dominican Republic
French national Nicolas Pisapia, accused of trying to fly dozens of suitcases packed with cocaine from the Dominican Republic to France, is pictured in court on the first day of the trial against him and 13 other people, in Santo Domingo, on April 20, 2015. Two years after their arrest, four Frenchmen -- two pilots, their passenger (Pisapia) and the alleged broker behind the deal -- face a long-delayed trial in what the French media have dubbed the 'Air Cocaine' affair. The men were arrested in March 2013 on the tarmac at the airport in the Caribbean resort of Punta Cana, when according to Dominican authorities they were preparing to take off with 26 suitcases carrying 680 kilograms of cocaine. The four Frenchmen are accused alongside nine Dominican army officers and a civilian official. AFP PHOTO / ERIKA SANTELICES (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
French co-pilot Bruno Odos, accused of trying to fly dozens of suitcases packed with cocaine from the Dominican Republic to France, is pictured in court on the first day of the trial against him and 13 other people, in Santo Domingo, on April 20, 2015. Two years after their arrest, four Frenchmen -- two pilots, their passenger and the alleged broker behind the deal -- face a long-delayed trial in what the French media have dubbed the 'Air Cocaine' affair. The men were arrested in March 2013 on the tarmac at the airport in the Caribbean resort of Punta Cana, when according to Dominican authorities they were preparing to take off with 26 suitcases carrying 680 kilograms of cocaine. The four Frenchmen are accused alongside nine Dominican army officers and a civilian official. AFP PHOTO / ERIKA SANTELICES (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
French senator Olivier Cadic (C) speaks in court with French pilot Pascal Fauret (2-R) and co-pilot Bruno Odos (L), both accused of trying to fly dozens of suitcases packed with cocaine from the Dominican Republic to France, on the first day of the trial against them and 12 other people, in Santo Domingo, on April 20, 2015. Two years after their arrest, four Frenchmen -- two pilots, their passenger and the alleged broker behind the deal -- face a long-delayed trial in what the French media have dubbed the 'Air Cocaine' affair. The men were arrested in March 2013 on the tarmac at the airport in the Caribbean resort of Punta Cana, when according to Dominican authorities they were preparing to take off with 26 suitcases carrying 680 kilograms of cocaine. The four Frenchmen are accused alongside nine Dominican army officers and a civilian official. AFP PHOTO / ERIKA SANTELICES (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
French alleged broker Alain Castany, accused of trying to fly dozens of suitcases packed with cocaine from the Dominican Republic to France, listens to his lawyer, after finishing the audience in Santo Domingo on August 13, 2015. Castany and other three French citizens and 37 Dominicans are involved in a drug trafficking case which the French media have dubbed the 'Air Cocaine' affair. AFP PHOTO/ERIKA SANTELICES (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
French pilot Bruno Odos (C), accused of trying to fly dozens of suitcases packed with cocaine from the Dominican Republic to France, during his trial in Santo Domingo on May 29, 2015. Two years after their arrest, four Frenchmen -- two pilots, their passenger and the alleged broker behind the deal -- face a long-delayed trial in what the French media have dubbed the 'Air Cocaine' affair. The men were arrested in March 2013 on the tarmac at the airport in the Caribbean resort of Punta Cana, when according to Dominican authorities they were preparing to take off with 26 suitcases carrying 680 kilograms of cocaine. The four Frenchmen are accused alongside nine Dominican army officers and a civilian official. AFP PHOTO/ERIKA SANTELICES (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
French pilot Jean Pascal Furet (C), accused of trying to fly dozens of suitcases packed with cocaine from the Dominican Republic to France, speaks in court with the consul of France in the Dominican Republic Dominique Doudet (L) and French senator Olivier Cadic, on the first day of the trial against him and 13 other people, in Santo Domingo, on April 20, 2015. Two years after their arrest, four Frenchmen -- two pilots, their passenger and the alleged broker behind the deal -- face a long-delayed trial in what the French media have dubbed the 'Air Cocaine' affair. The men were arrested in March 2013 on the tarmac at the airport in the Caribbean resort of Punta Cana, when according to Dominican authorities they were preparing to take off with 26 suitcases carrying 680 kilograms of cocaine. The four Frenchmen are accused alongside nine Dominican army officers and a civilian official. AFP PHOTO / ERIKA SANTELICES (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
French national Nicolas Pisapia(R), accused of trying to fly dozens of suitcases Packed with cocaine from the Dominican Republic to France, convicted of crimes related to drug trafficking and sentenced to 20 years in prison, is seen on August 14, 2015. Pisapia and other three French Citizens and 37 Dominicans are involved in a drug trafficking case which the French media have dubbed the 'Air Cocaine' affair. AFP PHOTO / ERIKA SANTELICES (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
French pilot Bruno Odos, accused of trying to fly dozens of suitcases packed with cocaine from the Dominican Republic to France, convicted of crimes related to drug trafficking and sentenced to 20 years in prison, speaks on August 14, 2015. Odos and other three French citizens and 37 Dominicans are Involved in a drug trafficking case which the French media dubbed the 'Air Cocaine' affair. AFP PHOTO / ERIKA SANTELICES (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
French national Nicolas Pisapia (L), accused of trying to fly dozens of suitcases packed with cocaine from the Dominican Republic to France, during his trial in Santo Domingo on May 29, 2015. Two years after their arrest, four Frenchmen -- two pilots, their passenger and the alleged broker behind the deal -- face a long-delayed trial in what the French media have dubbed the 'Air Cocaine' affair. The men were arrested in March 2013 on the tarmac at the airport in the Caribbean resort of Punta Cana, when according to Dominican authorities they were preparing to take off with 26 suitcases carrying 680 kilograms of cocaine. The four Frenchmen are accused alongside nine Dominican army officers and a civilian official. AFP PHOTO/ERIKA SANTELICES (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
French pilot Pascal Fauret (R) and his lawyers Jean Reinhart (C) and Eric Dupond-Moretti give a press conference on October 27, 2015 in Paris. Two French pilots sentenced to 20 years in jail in the Dominican Republic for cocaine trafficking have managed to get out of the country and return home, their lawyer said in Paris on October 26. Pascal Fauret, 55, and co-pilot Bruno Odos, whose age was not given, were among four Frenchmen handed 20-year terms in Santo Domingo in August in a case dubbed 'Air Cocaine' in France. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
French pilot Pascal Fauret speaks during a press conference on October 27, 2015 in Paris. Two French pilots sentenced to 20 years in jail in the Dominican Republic for cocaine trafficking have managed to get out of the country and return home, their lawyer said in Paris on October 26. Pascal Fauret, 55, and co-pilot Bruno Odos, whose age was not given, were among four Frenchmen handed 20-year terms in Santo Domingo in August in a case dubbed 'Air Cocaine' in France. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
Claude and Monique Pisapia, communicate via computer with their son Nicolas Pisapia, one of the two Frenchmen who were arrested in a case dubbed 'Air Cocaine' and still remaining in Dominican Republic, in Velaux, southern France, on October 27, 2015 after two French pilots sentenced to 20 years in jail in the Dominican Republic for cocaine trafficking managed to slip out of the country and return home. Pascal Fauret, 55, and co-pilot Bruno Odos, whose age was not given, were among four Frenchmen handed 20-year terms in Santo Domingo in August in a case dubbed 'Air Cocaine' in France. Fauret and Odos were arrested in March 2013 -- along with Nicolas Pisapia, a passenger on the plane they were piloting, and alleged broker Alain Castany -- as they were about to take off from the Dominican resort of Punta Cana. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOIS (Photo credit should read BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images)
French pilot Jean Pascal Furet (C), accused of trying to fly dozens of suitcases packed with cocaine from the Dominican Republic to France, speaks in court with French senator Olivier Cadic (R) and the consul of France in the Dominican Republic Dominique Doudet, on the first day of the trial against him and 13 other people, in Santo Domingo, on April 20, 2015. Two years after their arrest, four Frenchmen -- two pilots, their passenger and the alleged broker behind the deal -- face a long-delayed trial in what the French media have dubbed the 'Air Cocaine' affair. The men were arrested in March 2013 on the tarmac at the airport in the Caribbean resort of Punta Cana, when according to Dominican authorities they were preparing to take off with 26 suitcases carrying 680 kilograms of cocaine. The four Frenchmen are accused alongside nine Dominican army officers and a civilian official. AFP PHOTO / ERIKA SANTELICES (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
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"Right now we´re in contact with French authorities, not only to determine how they fled the country and their accomplices, but also in order for them to assume their responsibility in the country," he said.

BFM TV carried photos of the two men in a speedboat and said they went from that boat to a larger vessel, which sailed to the nearby French-governed part of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, about 730 km (450 miles) from Santo Domingo, the capital of Dominican Republic.

They arrived back in France on Saturday. Le Figaro newspaper said they were "extracted" from the country by a team of people.

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The Foreign Ministry said the French government was not involved in helping the men flee.

Odos and Fauret were convicted of smuggling 1,500 pounds (700 kilos) of cocaine seized on board an executive jet at the Punta Cana International Airport in March 2013.

Fauret and his lawyers would not be drawn on the nature of the escape, but the pilot told reporters he was in no way a fugitive from justice.

"From the moment when justice does not conduct an inquiry, does not listen to us ... I am sorry but my instinct is to return to my country where I can tell my story to the courts," he said.

Two other Frenchmen who were also convicted in connection with the same case are still in the Dominican Republic.

(Reporting by Pauline Mevel in Paris and Jorge Pinon in Santo Domingo. Additional reporting by Chine Labbé and Simon Carraud; Writing by Andrew Callus; Editing by Ingrid Melander, Alison Williams, Grant McCool)

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