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PARIS (Reuters) - A French prosecutor placed a police sergeant suspected of having stolen 52 kg (115 pounds) of cocaine from the Paris police headquarters under formal investigation for theft on Wednesday, a judicial source said.
The 34-year-old officer, who belonged to an anti-drugs unit, is suspected of having stolen the drugs worth about 2 million euros (1.6 million pounds) from a secure room inside the headquarters, where they had been placed after being seized in a raid.
He was arrested last Saturday at his vacation home in the southwestern city of Perpignan. Fellow officers had identified him as the same man they saw on surveillance footage leaving the site with two bags on the night of July 24.
The officer, who was suspended from duty, denies any wrongdoing.
The prosecutor's office placed the officer, whose name has not been made public, under formal investigation for theft by a government employee, as well as several other charges.
Investigators said they had found some 25,000 euros in cash in a rucksack at his Paris apartment. The suspect claimed that he had won the money gambling, the source said.
The stolen cocaine is still missing.
A second officer was arrested on Monday and is being held for questioning on suspicion that he helped the first gain access to the secure room where seized drugs are stored.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has called for a "rigorous, in-depth" investigation into the theft, the second scandal this year to hit the Paris police headquarters overlooking the Seine river.
In April, two officers from an anti-gang squad were placed under formal investigation after they were accused of having raped a Canadian woman visiting Paris. That investigation is ongoing.
(Reporting by Gerard Bon; Writing by Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)