Sounds like the Captain may be a German born in Colombia which would explain the confusion. link
Seeing how the National Police encircled the private plane, its pilot, a Colombian, 39, confessed to the agents of Red Cross packages were hiding a ton of cocaine. They had removed the seats of the luxurious jet to use the room as drug store. Cocaine from a Colombian cartel unknown to Interpol. The private jet pilot held since last Sunday in Gran Canaria airport confessed to the agents of the National Police that the Red Cross packages on the plane had actually hiding a ton of cocaine. His confession, as noted yesterday, sources close to the investigation, came before the agents proceed to examine the bales.
The three prisoners, the pilot, originally from Colombia and 39 years, the German co-pilot and 28, and wife of 29 years and also a German national, had removed all of the luxury airline seats to store 1,400 kilos of cocaine brought on board. Neither the National Police and Interpol itself, it was who gave the notice to its interception, knew what brought the plane. In fact, suspicions were among a shipment of weapons and cocaine. Finally, it was this second option.
What we do know is that the jet, which landed Sunday in Gran Canaria for fuel, when it was held, was that the flight was bringing an illegal shipment.
"Officers from Malta's Security Services played a major role in an Interpol seizure of an estimated tonne of cocaine on board a luxury private jet in the Canary Islands this week.
The jet, a Bombardier BD-700, registered in Malta with call sign 9H-FED, was raided by Spanish police as it landed in Gran Canaria last Monday night. Two German pilots and an Austrian crew attendant have been arrested in connection with the haul.
The plane, owned by Hyperion Aviation which operates at Malta International Airport, remains grounded at Gran Canaria airport, as intensive international investigations continue. "What I can say is that our company has assisted the Maltese and Spanish authorities all throughout, and what I can say is that we were immediately in contact with them soon after an forced and unauthorised take-off from Valencia, Venezuela was made," said Eric Wiesskopf, Hyperion Aviation chief executive in comments to MaltaToday.
While denying the "Miami-Vice-flavour" attributed to the story in foreign press reports, suggesting that the plane flew from Venezuela to Miami before flying to Europe, Wiesskopf said that both Interpol and his company will issuing a formal statement to the media tomorrow.
A search on board the aircraft yielded boxes with International Red Cross signs on them containing packs of solid cocaine.
The plane had previously landed in Venezuela from Trinidad and Tobago, while its flight plan indicated that it came from Granada. Officially, it was intended to fly from Venezuela to Brazil, but landed on Monday in Gran Canaria. Press reports said the aircraft's crew filed a flight plan to Brazil, but flew out without lights, and without authorisation. Reports have suggested that the intended destination was Benin in West Africa.
A Malta police source close to the investigations told MaltaToday the plane dropped off a female Australian passenger in Venezuela, who latercaught a commercial flight to Spain. This passenger is currently being sought by Interpol.
While Interpol is said to be looking into the alleged involvement of some 28 people who may be connected to the case, Venezuelan authorities have also launched an investigation into the accomplices who facilitated the unauthorised take-off from Valencia's Arturo Michelena's airport.
Speaking to Venezuela television this morning, the country's interior and security minister Tareck El Aissami said that his country is looking into every aspect of the case. "Venezuela has started an investigation to determine the alleged responsibility of people and authorities who may be involved in the unauthorised departure of this jet plane from national territory," the minister said, while confirming arrests have been made."
"The three crew members of the Jet, who were caught with a ton of cocaine at the airport of Las Palmas claim they were kidnapped in Venezuela by a paramilitary group, which forced them to transport the drugs to Benin. The masked and heavily armed men allegedly threatened to kill the families of the three, unless they should meet their demands. The crew are two German men and one woman from Austria.
It is well known that the route flown is often used by the Colombian mafia to transport their drugs. The goods thus arrives via Africa to Europe to be sold there at a profit. The crew had reportedly informed the Company in Switzerland during the flight about the events, according to their testimony led to the contact with Interpol. This claim, however, seems to be far from reality.
The explanations of the crew has not dismissed the charges against the three, because so far no single case is known where the drug mafia passed their goods to unknown persons, who have nothing to do with the scene. Interpol also indicates that they were not informed by the management of the company, raising further suspicions. The Venezuelan government had informed Interpol, which had in turn contacted the authorities of the Canary Islands together.
Investigators in Venezuela are also claiming that there is another accomplice who allegedly flew with a flight of the airline Iberia from Caracas to Madrid, where she is currently wanted by the authorities. The employer of the suspects is a company that specializes in luxury flights. An involvement of this company in the case can still not 100% excluded."
Last edited by Propellerpilot; 16th Aug 2012 at 23:07.
Will be interesting to see how the story unfolds. Why on earth would a crew of three and possible more ppl responsible with the operation of the aircraft in their right mind conspire to such crime? There must be more to it.
According to the www 9H-FED is ex OE-LAF. Does anybody know if there is a connection between the present owner and the previous owner?
Well not expecting Karma of this magnitude and with all due respect... bear in mind, there are also fellow aviators with a completely different opinion about said character - actually the exact very opposite (even so far as an arrogant bosser, mobber and abuser ).
In some homes champagne is already open and possibly more is waiting in the fridge to compliment further redemption. Him being a highly controversial character in the industry is unfortunately the truth and reality, that he himself is more or less responsible for. Subjective opinions will therefore highly differ between people and they all have their personal reasons for the way they feel. That should always be kept in mind and respected. Although I do admit to be personally biased slightly (no direct acquaintance), I have tried to write this post as neutral as possible and apologize for any err, personal offenses or failure to do so - not my intention. This is probably also why many others are holding their peace and just observing.
Thank God others unrelated directly to aviation will be the unbiased and unprejudiced judges of this case. Finally, may truth unfold and prevail.
@His dudeness: you probably will not or at least be better off, because you would have handled the situation differently. At least I would hope so. Mistakes were made, possibly making things worse.
personally cannot imagine that a crew of such an aircraft would be part of such a scheme..
could imagine that that crew had been under severe stress...maybe an armed gang forced them to load up the stuff...
could imagine that the crew then decided to bugger off into the darkness and proceeded to LPA...probably having informed their company via Satcom about their distress, and naturally keeping quiet on ATC until well out of range of Venezuela, as we all know that this Chavez is one of the biggest drug gangsters in South America anyway..
could imagine, that that plane, as obviously having been operated before by another company, and the new operator actually consisted of ex members of the former operator / managemant company, that maybe the former operator of said bird with some connections had set them up..
looks like some low-life set up to me..
personally do not understand why any operator in his or her right mind even considers to go to any of those South American drug states..one must be pretty desperate to take on such a charter..
Whatever the truth behind the story, I would start to worry about the owner of the 'merchandise'. Can´t image him simply writing it off. Someone will pay the price one way or another. Good luck to all involved.
you are right..that was a stupid emotional statement on my part..
however it is unfortunately true for some of those countries, Venezuela included..
I am 100% sure that that crew of that Global was forced to take on that load under threat, and such druggangs are no jokers, so the crew in all certainty did have no options..other than sneaking out lowlevel and make the first stop logically in LPA ( and not Westafrica or wherever they should have flown that cargo to..)
and the question therefore still remains why that aircraft, and by whom, it had been booked to fly to Venezuela? That is the question that the authorities will have to find an answer to and that will solve the case..
falconer1 - it happening is bad enough, however I disagree with your statement that there were no other options. They could have become proactive and asked for help and assistance i.e. instructions immediately after the plane was in reach of competent ATC (possibly US) - before this also inform AIRINC via ACARS (not only the company) - German Police is very capable of providing protection to the families on the other side of the Atlantic, if there was ever a real threat over there at all. They have been busted - so why should this threat now suddenly go away ? The situation has not changed by keeping quiet - they only made their own stance much worse. According to press they were forced to land in LPA by the way - it was not their choice.
The media in Germany is not even giving this any big attention.
Thinking the way you do gives criminals power - don't try being clever by keeping your mouth shut because of somebody threatening or blackmailing you. As long as nobody is in the plane holding you at gunpoint, there are certainly better options. In my eyes, the option they chose was pretty stupid - makes them instant criminal suspects. Even worse: this might motivate drug gangs to give it another try with the next crew, because they are so easy to intimidate.
And yes - I do feel sorry for their families, totally horrific what they are going through.
Last edited by Propellerpilot; 20th Aug 2012 at 14:28.
Propellerpilot- I basically fully agree with you..
however let us look at the options..
let us just assume that the crew sped off without any of the gangsters on board..lets say the crew told them that they will need around 30 minutes APU time before they could fly out...then with nobody else except themselves on board, they closed the door and started the motors as soon as the IRUs were up and flew off without lights...low level as fast as possible out of Venezuelan airspace..that's important, they had to assume that if intercepted over Venezuela and forced to land, they could have ended up in any jail or dead very soon..half of those arrested in Venezuela in that case, if true what is reported were from the National Guard..Chavez and his cronies are knee deep in drugs too..so anyway they took off and left as fast as possible...and tried to get out of reach of ANY Venezuelan authority...smart move
where to go now? To any Carribean state..or Mexico of all places...? Better not...the cartels are also at home there, they would not survive a night after landing there...
To the US?...well yes that is a possibility, IF you chose to lose the plane...the plane would have been impounded by the US in any case...and would have been lost for the owner, even if it is not the owner/operator's fault or the crew is not involved in the drug thing..that Global would already "belong" to the US government now if impounded there..
so off they went for Spain...the EU quite probably being the safest place for them, as all crew are EU citizens..
maybe I got it all wrong...but if that is what had happened, they did the right thing..but could be that I am completely wrong...but whatever has been reported up to date would let me assume what I wrote before..
we will not know before any final statements come from the operator and/or authorities...but those statements have not been made yet, which lets me believe that there still is a major sting ops going on now in that case and the authorities do not want to endanger their ops by providing too much info for the time being..
Just bear in mind on the XRS there is also a Sat-Phone and even Internet. That opens many possibilities to get help from different sources and also the ability to place a direct call to inform your wife instantly and advise her to call or go to the nearest police station and get personal protection until the matter is resolved and the family is safe. That would have been my primary concern. Plane impounded - who cares ? Would you honestly care if you would have been threatened the way they where ?
Propellerpilot- let us agree that we only speculate now..
there is absolutely NO confirmed info in any media on what really has happened..
the only fact that seems clear is, that a Global full of dope had left Venezuela in the middle of the night without talking to ATC AND had landed at LPA, an EU airport.
Now, yes, I speculate, because I assume ( maybe wrongfully) but still I am sure, that that Global had a crew of lawabiding qualified pilots and a FA who had been caught up in developments beyond their control...over there..
What the pilot obviously COULD control with a bit of luck, was the way OUT...
the way OUT and that seems completely logical to me, with a Global with full tanks was across the ocean as close as possible to home and land on EU territory..
the rest of the story I guess we will read in the news once the authorities deem the time fit and right..
P.S.: Imagine yourself in the very uncomfortable situation of that crew ( if innocent)..do you want to create havoc over the internet by mails or by satcom calls?...OR do you want to talk in person to a European police officer at the logical place you have elected to land, in that case LPA and explain the situation in all detail face-to-face and take it from there...and to do that you have to "aviate - navigate " and put that plane down where you deem it safest first..