French customs officers stopped a white van just after the Luxembourg-France border on the A31, early on Sunday morning, when the driver attempted to flee.
According to the Républicain lorrain, customs officers noticed the van at 2am on Sunday 11 January as it headed towards Metz, and signalled for the van to follow them.
The driver seemed to comply at first, but then accelerated to 200 km/h. He then stopped in a field near Kanfen and attemped to flee on foot, but officers were able to catch up with him.
It transpired that the 28-year-old, originally from Sri Lanka, was transporting 1,439 litres of hard liquor, vodka and whisky in his van. Officers found six pallets with around 300 cartons of bottles.
The man had planned to purchase the alcohol in Luxembourg to take advantage of the cheap prices and restock a grocery in the Paris region, where he lives and works.
He told the Thionville criminal court on Monday that he regretted his actions.
As a reminder, the European Union authorises individuals to transport 10 litres of spirits on a personal basis, while commercial conveyors must report purchases to customs with proof.
In this case, the man had no documents and the goods seized were valued at 30,000 euros with French taxes.
Thionville’s vice-prosecutor requested an 8 month sentence. The court finally confirmed a 10 month suspended sentence, as well as the confiscation of the vehicle and the alcohol.