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Police arrest drug dealer and find stolen wine meant for the Queen

Following a police chase involving a helicopter and a dog unit, authorities in Alsace apprehended a drug dealer only to discover he’d also stolen wine from acclaimed producer Rolly Gassmann, which had been ordered by Buckingham Palace.

Image: Gendarmerie de Colmar

As reported by France Bleu, Colmar police carried out the arrest on 17 October last year. Authorities had an illegal cannabis farm in the village of Saint-Hippolyte in the Haut-Rhin department under surveillance, when a man was spotted approaching the plantation.

Authorities mobilised a team of 15 officers including a helicopter and a dog unit, eventually finding and arresting the man along with his partner and another individual.

After carrying out a search, police found 82 grams of cannabis, 2g of resin, five cannabis plants, three growing chambers, five LED lamps and 37 plant pots.

However, what was more surprising was a collection of 47 bottles of wine from revered Rorschwihr-based producer Rolly Gassmann. It is believed the bottles were taken in the summer when the estate’s buildings were undergoing construction work.

The man initially told authorities that he had bought the wine, however, the hoard was later found to contain several special bottles that had been ordered by Buckingham Palace.

Pierre Gassmann, owner of Rolly Gassmann, told France Bleu: “This shows the importance of the work of the police. The thieves were unlucky – the police uncovered a pile of the Queen’s wines. They were special bottles which are not for general sale. England is the leading export destination for our wines and Elizabeth II likes them very much.”

Head of the Colmar Police division, Mikaël de Miras, told Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace: “Among the bottles of Alsace wine found at the home of the accused, several were found to be very special as they were cuvées intended for Buckingham Palace in England, therefore ordered by Queen Elizabeth II. The accused could not therefore have bought them as he claimed!”

The man later admitted the wine theft, in addition to the cannabis charges, and will appear in Colmar Criminal Court in March. His accomplices will appear in court later this month.

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