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INVESTIGATORS V TRAFFICKERS, A FRONTIER ON ALERT | TF1 | Reportages
It was a year ago to the day. On the morning of March 23 2018, in Trèbes in the Aude, a terrorist murders four people in a supermarket. Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, on duty at the time, offers to take the place of a hostage. This tragedy has profoundly marked the gendarmes of the region. Burglaries, drugs, sexual aggression… The daily round of a country gendarme is far more dramatic than one imagines. For months, we followed investigators from the Céret task force. Top sleuths who opened up not just their cases to us, but their fears as well. Christophe is first and foremost a soldier. This 45-year-old from Brittany has his sights set on a trafficker. Some of his “customers” are still minors. To thwart him, Christophe will spend hours staking him out. Several days later he is confronted with a delicate case: a suspected rape. “It sends shivers down your spine. We proceed as if it was proven from the start, but it’s our investigations that will determine exactly what happened. It’s a job where you always have to take a step back. If we react emotionally, we’re going to miss something.”Alongside him on this case is Christian, 49, and the group’s elder statesman. Christian’s been in the squad for 17 years. “I don’t work on a computer because I’m not very good at it and it bores me!”His old-time methods contrast with those of his colleagues, but they get results. By retracing the evening of the rape, minute by minute, he puts his finger on an event that had been overlooked. Aurore is the only woman in the squad. She’s a tenacious investigator juggling her job with her role as mother. “The family’s used to it. It becomes normal to see me leave home at odd hours, to come home at odd hours and not to see me for several days. They put up with it, but that’s our job.”A job that’s getting tougher. Since the tragedy that cost the life of Lieutenant-Colonel Beltrame, she’s been imagining the day when she, too, is confronted with the direst situation. “It’s hard to say how you’ll react the day that happens… I don’t even know if you’ll have the time to think.” We plunge into the heart of crime in the countryside.