Sunday 6 December 2020

Drug smugglers posed as United Nation aid workers crash jet

Honduran military agents confiscated nearly $2 million worth of cocaine that was aboard a small jet from Venezuela that crashed Thursday. The Armed Forces announced the aircraft, a Piper PA-31, was intercepted by its flight radar system after it illegally entered the Central American nation's airspace off its Caribbean coast. The jet's crew claimed they were members of the United Nations who were delivering humanitarian aid to the victims of Hurricanes Eta and Iota which ravaged Honduras in November, according to Armed Forces spokesman, José Antonio Coello. Coello said the pilot was instructed to land and the smugglers aboard then dumped 40kg of cocaine off the twin engine jet before it crashed in Barra de Patuca, a town in the coastal department of Gracias a Dios. The incident sparked a shootout at the crash site, which left one smuggler dead and a soldier was shot in the foot. The serviceman's injury was non-life threatening. The Honduran Armed Forces seized the dumped cocaine as well as five packages of the drug inside the jet. Authorities are searching the area for other passengers aboard the jet who may have escaped. It is the second 'narco jet' that departed from Venezuela that was forced intercepted by the Honduran military in three months. Soldiers seized $23.4 million in cocaine on the 23rd August from a jet registered in Mexico.  The small twin-engine plane crash landed in a grass field in the department of Gracias a Dios before the military swarmed and confiscated 489 kilos of cocaine, an AK-47, a 9mm gun, and ammunition. No arrests were reported. The Honduran Armed Forces data shows that 2,039kgs of cocaine, with a street value of $140.6 million, have been seized during the first 11 months of 2020 in the department of Gracias a Dios.

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