French drug lord arrested in Moroccan hospital with 'machete' wound to face

Sofiane Hambli skipped French bail in March

A notorious French drug baron who skipped bail in March this year has been rearrested in a Morocco hospital where he is being treated for a serious facial wound, security sources told AFP on Monday.

Sofiane Hambli, 46, a French-Algerian, used false identity papers to check himself into a hospital after suffering a 20-centimetre gash in an assault with a machete or sword in Tangier, the sources said.

"Once he's recovered, we'll go to get him," one of the sources told AFP, confirming information first reported by L'Obs magazine.

Originally from the eastern French town of Mulhouse, Hambli is considered one of the biggest importers of cannabis to France and has a long criminal record, as well as a history of escaping from detention.

The man known as the Chimera was named in an international search warrant this year after skipping bail in France, having been accused of organising the import of four tonnes of cannabis.

Le Parisien newspaper reported at the time that he made €2.4 million ($2.8m) from the transaction but never delivered the drugs to his buyer "who is thought to have wanted revenge".

Hambli denied the accusations.

He is also known to have been an informant for France's anti-narcotics police and was involved in importing seven tonnes of cannabis in 2015 in an operation that was being monitoring by authorities.

One of his associates, Moufide Bouchibi, 41, also a French-Algerian, was last month sentenced to 16 years in a French prison for drugs offences.

Updated: October 25th 2021, 5:38 PM
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