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My name is Frank Colin, I organized Air Cocaïne : the book

Publié le 22 mars 2023 à 15:06 par Magazine En-Contact
My name is Frank Colin, I organized Air Cocaïne : the book

On 24 March will be published the autobiography of Frank Colin, the man who organized famous drug-smuggling operation called Air Cocaine. Coinciding with a four-part mini-series to be aired on Canal +, on 22 and 29 March, this incredible affair has fascinated the media for over a decade. Here follow a few excerpts provided by co-author and editor Manuel Jacquinet. It starts with a credit card that doesn’t work. 

28 March 2013. Frank Colin — until then almost unknown to the French judiciary and media — was arrested on the forecourt of La Défense in front of the headquarters of Société Générale bank. A few days earlier, he'd commissioned a Falcon 50 private jet with two pilots and two passengers which left Punta Cana airport in the Dominican Republic. The cargo contained 700 kilos of cocaine in 26 suitcases, a shipment valued at 20 million euros. Air Cocaine, as the affair was quickly dubbed, was to involve heavy-handed arrests, rocky escapes and a series of trials. This book is the story of the life of Frank Colin, born in Toulon, inhabitant of the Berthe housing estate in La Seyne-sur-Mer. He was a boxer, bodyguard, traveller, international businessman and subject of celebrity magazines: his life is like a novel. After seven years spent in detention, he tells for the first time his singular journey. During a hearing, a magistrate told him: "You were a whole man, but now you’re a complete man". Does one really become more complete after such a story and seven years in prison?


Excerpts from the book :
Pages 4 – 5
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Frank Colin has lived in Cité Berthe, Toulon, Paris, Bucharest, Moscow, Los Angeles, Patagonia, Saint-Tropez, La Farlède etc... He has driven BMWs, Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces, Pagani Zonda, Harley-Davidson. He has been a nightclub doorman, a bodyguard, a businessman, an organiser of private jet flights filled with suitcases. He has rubbed shoulders with or protected Loulou Régnier, Mike Tyson, Jean-Roch, the Fargette family, Naomi Campbell, Snoop Dogg and Marc Chouraqui, among others. And Frank was a friend of Christophe Dominici and Christian Perchet. But, if it wasn't for the affair that began on 23 March 2013, at Punta Cana airport, you would probably never have heard of him. Quickly dubbed the Air Cocaine Affair, it put him on the front pages of newspapers and television stations around the world, which described him as the "jack of all trades", the "celebrity adventurer", the "sponsor", the "organiser".

What if they were all wrong? Frank Colin, whom I now know a little (co-writing a book with someone forces you to be temporarily close), is above all a curious boy, endowed with an incredible desire to learn from everything and everyone, and, like all restless individuals, he’s difficult to pin down to a few adjectives. Is it necessary to do so? Our lives can take a path that was not foreseen, at the end of which we are transformed. At the same time, what happens to us is never completely accidental. What matters is the journey, what we learn from it and what we share.


© Edouard Jacquinet

I asked him all the questions I wanted to ask. Of course, in this book, there are unpublished and astonishing revelations about Air Cocaine: he is, after all, "the mastermind" who tells them for the first time. But I also discovered that Frank Colin's life has always been rocky. How does one go from the Cité Berthe, from a childhood with short stays at school, to close protection at the highest level, to being a partner in a British investment fund buying land in Romania and investing in shopping centres? How did the idea of chartering flights that could make a lot of money come about? How do you actually orchestrate them? What do you think about in prison, when you've had everything and have nothing left?

This story is built from interviews and questions to a baffling, romantic individual motivated to learn from each step he takes. His friends called him Bruce Lee or FGTH, like Frankie Goes to Hollywood. As a teenager, Frank was passionate about martial arts, eager to have everything the stars have in Hollywood. And to share it with his family. However, when you dream very loudly and very high, without mastering all the codes, it is likely that you will one day stay or sleep in unusual places, less glamorous than Rodeo Drive: in the Gare de Lyon, or even in prison! "I'm experimenting", says Frank. "And I'm learning," we should add, so striking is the character's ability to make the most of everything he sees and hears. Our interviews dealt with what is important in life: love, friendship, family. But also about fathers and emotional security, about those things that can be missing, about what inevitably comes up when you are alone, facing yourself. Of what must continue. A magistrate once said to him: "You were a complete man, you are now a complete man. In his own way, Frank Colin, the "all-rounder", has become a bit of a philosopher. This is his story, a manual of survival, rebounds and good advice on how to avoid the big shit in the... discothèque of life.

Pages 6 – 7
HÔTEL PERSHING HALL Paris 8th district. When it came time to pay, my card, an Infinite, issued by Société Générale, did not work. I paid with my Amex, linked to my Swiss account. At the nearest ATM, the Infinite didn't work either. I understood. I decided to go to the safe at the bank after calling them back. "Come at the end of the morning, it will be settled. They have been telling me for two days that there is a problem with the alarm that prevents access to the safe deposit boxes. The driver left me under the forecourt of La Défense in Paris, near the main tower of Société Générale. "If I'm not back in an hour, you can leave. You can leave my suitcase at such and such a place, with such and such a person, who will give it to my family. I go into the bank where I see a girl. A bit strange, short hair, a bit of a tomboy, she could be a drug addict, an ex-drug addict. Or a cop face. I recognise a busy banker with a person facing him, a customer probably. Usually when I walk in I get a wave from him, or a hello. He looks at me, and then nothing. It's nice of him, as if he's telling me: there's a problem. The director isn't there but the deputy director is, a lady who doesn't like me very much probably because one day I gave her a hard time. "Take a seat. Sit down, the access to the safe is fixed", with a big smile. Once seated, I think to myself that there are no customers in the bank, that there is no one there. This is not the atmosphere I am used to. Call from a friend, who works at Air France: "You're on tonight's flight at 5.35pm. Is that it? Yes. I don't know where you are, but leave very quickly, your name is written in red, you're not leaving. I hang up, go out for a smoke on the square, which is full of people. I think of my son. Then a big guy appears, stares at me and seems to question another one inside, just with his eyes, as if he was asking "Is it him? More guys come in, almost from all sides. I think for a moment that I could get away with it: he doesn't look so impregnable after all. A sweep and then a 100 metres (...)

The authors.
FRANK COLIN lives and works near Toulon where he is on parole until 2025. He appears, as the central protagonist, in the documentary series Air Cocaïne, broadcast on Canal + from 22 March. 
MANUEL JACQUINET is a publisher and author, and a specialist journalist. He has written and edited Studios de légende, secrets et histoires de nos Abbey Road français, and co-wrote and produced the comedy Operation 118 318, customer abuse.


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