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A car-smuggling scam told from a Spanish prison


Of my three prison friends, I considered JeanLuc to be the only one with a criminally attuned mind. He had been part of a gang stealing prestige cars. According to Jean-Luc, they operated in Spain purely because they found Spanish vehicle registration documents the easiest to forge, and the gang centred their activities on Madrid airport, where, apart from the good selection of vehicles available, it normally took some time before the theft was discovered and reported to the police. 'Am I unique' book coverJean-Luc claimed that with the right timing a vehicle could be taken from Madrid airport and within hours be on a ferry to Morocco and transported to other parts of Africa, where a very lucrative market existed for quality European cars. There may have been an element of exaggeration in Jean-Luc’s boast that on a good week he could deliver a couple of cars to Morocco.

His downfall came when taking a car from the airport and speeding south en route for the ferry; the car skidded off the road and he sustained injuries which hospitalised him for a month. In the meantime, the police discovered he had been driving a vehicle reported to be stolen, and he was subsequently charged and convicted. Far from prison acting as a deterrent to any further criminal activities upon his release, Jean-Luc spent most of his time planning further operations.

Extracted from Colin Wallace’s fascinating memoir, telling of drugs, the Foreign Legion, and the Algerian war. Buy ‘Am I Unique?’ here.

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