Saturday Afternoon Foil: Gitmo Drug Plane
Offered without comment, except to say that McClatchy Rawks!
MEXICO CITY — U.S. authorities are assisting the Mexican government in the investigation of an American business jet that crashed near Cancun this week with four tons of cocaine on board, officials said Thursday.
One of the men listed as the registered owners of the plane, Joao Luiz Malago, said in a telephone interview from Brazil that his Florida-based company sold the aircraft for $2 million on Sept. 16 to a Lakeland, Fla., man and his partner, who Malago believed was from Miami.
Malago said he feared the man was dead because he hasn't been picking up the phone.
Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico had no information on any American citizens being killed or arrested in connection with the aircraft, a 1975 model Gulfstream II.
"We're in the process of a judicial investigation that the Mexican government is conducting and we are providing information,'' said an embassy official, who wasn't authorized to speak on the record. "Part of that investigation is to find out more about where this plane came from and who had it before.''
Some news reports have linked the plane to the transport of terrorist suspects to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but those reports cite logs that indicate only that the plane flew twice between Washington, D.C., and Guantanamo and once between Oxford, Conn., and Guantanamo. No terrorist suspects are known to have been transferred to Guantanamo directly from the United States.
The jet, carrying the tail number N987SA, changed hands twice in recent weeks. But how it ended up in the hands of suspected drug traffickers remains a mystery.
The Mexican attorney general's office said the blue and white Gulfstream II crashed on Monday in a remote jungle area on the Yucatan Peninsula. Authorities seized 132 bags of cocaine weighing four tons. Two men were arrested and jailed on drug trafficking charges in Merida, officials said. They declined to identify the men, however.
Nothing to see here, citizens, move along.