Guatemalan Authorities Seize Three Planes in Anti-Drug Operation
By Dialogo August 22, 2012
Guatemalan authorities confiscated three aircraft on Aug. 20 during a series of raids carried out in La Aurora Airport’s private flight area, in the southern outskirts of the city, after the seizure of 405 kilos of cocaine on Aug. 18.
“We had information that drugs were entering this area along with weapons and undocumented people, and after the seizure of 405 kilos of cocaine 48 hours ago, we had to speed up the operation” said Guatemala’s Interior Minister, Mauricio López Bonilla.
Seven Guatemalans and five Ecuadorians were arrested in the early morning of Aug. 19 by Guatemalan Narcotic Agents when they entered the country with the shipment in a private Aircraft from Ecuador.
The official said that one of the three aircrafts held is owned by a Guatemalan who was convicted in 2011 by the Justice of Costa Rica, accused of drug trafficking, without specifying details.
Additonally, the authorities seized a small plane Mexican registered, “abadoned for several days” and that, according to López, “someone tried to claim only photocopies of the documents”.
The third plane was immobilized after the authoriteis discovered that its registration number had been illegally changed.
López said that, after the discovery on Aug. 18, procedures are being looked at to increase control in the private flights’ area of the Guatemalan airport.
“If up until today, the arrivals and departures of private flights had been handled with some discretion, this comes to an end. From today on, we are going to assume strict controls. We already have the collaboration of different companies that work in the airport”, the official highlighted.
According to reports from the United States, 90% of cocaine consumed in North America passes through Central America and Mexico from cartels in South American.