Chartered jet retained at PUJ after suspected shipment found on board

Tom0910

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Sep 28, 2015
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I am a supporter of legalization, however, many of the states in the US that legalized placed very low thc limits on their products.
Be nicer to have a twofer and get a double benefit with thc levels equal to what is available everywhere..

Other issue is the sky high prices the state stores charge.
If the state is going into the reefer biz they need to be competitive since there is lots of competition.
They will never eradicate the black market due to noncompetitive pricing. I maintain a home in C.T.,I have a medical marijuana card and my home is 15 minutes from the nearest Mass. recreational store. I don't bother with going to either place most of the time due to the outrageous prices. That said,despite the 30-100% higher prices both the medical and recreational businesses that I have been to are doing incredible business,full parking lots at both.
 

Ecoman1949

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They will never eradicate the black market due to noncompetitive pricing. I maintain a home in C.T.,I have a medical marijuana card and my home is 15 minutes from the nearest Mass. recreational store. I don't bother with going to either place most of the time due to the outrageous prices. That said,despite the 30-100% higher prices both the medical and recreational businesses that I have been to are doing incredible business,full parking lots at both.
The pandemic increased marijuana sales in my area significantly. Lots of product shortages due to increased sales. Some shops were sold out within hours of deliveries. Better to be stoned than worried, I guess.
 

jd426

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Here's a bigger picture. I see about what looks to me as 10 bricks in each stack. That would be 380 bricks. You think each one weighs 10 kilos? That would be over 8000 pounds.

Here's a foto of typical one kilo bricks for comparison:
Its NOT 8,000 lbs , I would bet money on it .. I work with weights on pallets , I can tell you that a 5,000 # on a Pallet is a LOT of weight , would be STEEL and there is no way this is even 5,000 Lbs , unless the drug smugglers have some new way to compact this stuff ..
I would say the 2,000 Lbs is probably very close to accurate .. curious what the final # is .
 
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Ecoman1949

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Its NOT 8,000 lbs , I would bet money on it .. I work with weights on pallets , I can tell you that a 5,000 # on a Pallet is a LOT of weight , would be STEEL and there is no way this is even 5,000 Lbs , unless the drug smugglers have some new way to compact this stuff ..
I would say the 2,000 Lbs is probably very close to accurate .. curious what the final # is .
Yep! Somewhere between 1000 to 2000 pounds amigo. Definitely not what’s reported. Big seizure just the same. I’m going to be very surprised if the pilots weasel out of this one and the aircraft is released.

Of course, in a country with corrupt police and courts, anything is possible. Money talks and the truth often walks. I imagine a hefty fine and a few greased palms will be the final outcome.
 
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cavok

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Yep! Somewhere between 1000 to 2000 pounds amigo. Definitely not what’s reported. Big seizure just the same. I’m going to be very surprised if the pilots weasel out of this one and the aircraft is released.

Of course, in a country with corrupt police and courts, anything is possible. Money talks and the truth often walks. I imagine a hefty fine and a few greased palms will be the final outcome.
If the pilots reported the drugs, I don't see how they will have a problem(?). The pilots and the passengers could all be in preventative custody for quite a while though as it is being investigated.
 
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Ecoman1949

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If the pilots reported the drugs, I don't see how they will have a problem(?). The pilots and the passengers could all be in preventative custody for quite a while though as it is being investigated.
Ultimately the chief pilot is responsible for what goes on the aircraft. This is a private aircraft with a small number of passengers and a very large amount of baggage on board. I could understand the pilot not knowing if it was a 737 or 320. The DR drug enforcement officers will press the chief pilot hard and won’t easily buy his not knowing. Maybe he and his flight officer didn’t know or one knew and the other didn’t. Their only hope is the mules clear them of any wrongdoing.

The bottom line legally is, the flight crew aided and abetted a serious crime. The fact that they reported it may or may not help their cause. The company lawyers will fight hard to get that aircraft released and back in service. The company really needs the revenue that aircraft can generate. I suspect the pilots are their second priority.

Innocent till proven guilty is the norm in many countries. The reverse is often true in the DR, especially for gringos. If the flight crew is lucky enough to be released and I do hope they are, it wouldn’t surprise me if they won’t be flying with Pivotal Airlines anymore. Even if I was cleared, it’s not something I would want on my resume if I had my ATP rating and was looking for a job.
 

CristoRey

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Pilot knows every ounce of weight on a flight for fuel measurements especially
when flying a distance like the one they had scheduled. I wouldn't surprised to
learn two or three other flights carrying the same type of cargo departed the same
day without being detected. It's a game of cat and mouse the authorities will
never win.
 

D'Arcy (Apostropheman)

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Here and there
Knowing that there is cargo, and the weight and number of parcels is one thing, and knowing the contents of the cargo is another. It's not mandatory to explain the exact nature of the cargo, just that it's not volatile, is it a solid or liquid, for shifting, and other basics. If the flight crew is not involved there is no way that the smugglers would disclose that the cargo was drugs.
 

Sol09

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I am not lucky enough to have ever had the opportunity to fly a private charter, but do the luggage and cargo (and passengers) not go through the same screening as a commercial flight?
 

cavok

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Ultimately the chief pilot is responsible for what goes on the aircraft. This is a private aircraft with a small number of passengers and a very large amount of baggage on board. I could understand the pilot not knowing if it was a 737 or 320. The DR drug enforcement officers will press the chief pilot hard and won’t easily buy his not knowing. Maybe he and his flight officer didn’t know or one knew and the other didn’t. Their only hope is the mules clear them of any wrongdoing.

The bottom line legally is, the flight crew aided and abetted a serious crime. The fact that they reported it may or may not help their cause. The company lawyers will fight hard to get that aircraft released and back in service. The company really needs the revenue that aircraft can generate. I suspect the pilots are their second priority.
When you say "Chief Pilot", I think you're referring to the captain, right? The Chief Pilot would be the one at Pivot Air that oversees all the pilots. Normally, only one pilot would be watching the cargo being loaded - usually the first officer. Until the baggage is brought out and loaded onboard, there's no way either pilot could know anything. It sounds like the F/O checked the bags, discovered drugs, notified the captain, and the captain notified the authorities. I don't see how, at this point, you can say the pilots aided and abetted the crime(?).
 
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cavok

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I am not lucky enough to have ever had the opportunity to fly a private charter, but do the luggage and cargo (and passengers) not go through the same screening as a commercial flight?
It should be basically the same. How could those bags have gone through the x-ray machine and where were the dogs? They had inside help for sure.
 
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Ecoman1949

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When you say "Chief Pilot", I think you're referring to the captain, right? The Chief Pilot would be the one at Pivot Air that oversees all the pilots. Normally, only one pilot would be watching the cargo being loaded - usually the first officer. Until the baggage is brought out and loaded onboard, there's no way either pilot could know anything. It sounds like the F/O checked the bags, discovered drugs, notified the captain, and the captain notified the authorities. I don't see how, at this point, you can say the pilots aided and abetted the crime(?).
Yes. When I say chief pilot I’m referring to the one in charge of the aircraft. The Senior pilot is the term I use to refer to the management pilot in charge of certification and training of all the pilots on staff.

The law in most countries dictates that anyone involved in the commission of a crime has potentially aided and abetted the crime until proven innocent. Reporting that the drugs were on board is part of their proof on innocence but it doesn’t clear them of all of their legal responsibilities. If any of the pilots knew what was on board, reporting it may have been a desperate action to protect themselves once they knew the police were alerted or tipped off. The legal precept that ignorance is not a defence also applies here. Probably more so in drug related crimes of this magnitude.

As I posted, their best hope is testimony from the mules exonerating them from involvement in the shipment and the testimony is accepted by the enforcement officers and the courts, if it goes to court.

This is a big drug shipment operation gone bad. There are many irregularities we will never know about. The mules may turn on the pilots. As you previously posted, other staff inside the airport were probably involved. There are too many variables at this point to say the pilots are totally innocent.

What happens to the pilots depends on how far the enforcement officers research the entire operation. I hope the drug enforcement officers are much better trained in forensic research than the average police officer on the street in the DR. Otherwise it may be easier for them to use the pilots as sacrificial lambs to send a message to all charter airlines and drug runners. That would be the worst case scenario.

Realistically, being innocent in the DR doesn’t guarantee your innocence in court. Money buys you your freedom. That was proven when the MLB player accident shot and killed the young boy and paid the family approximately $500,000 US to get out of jail. I still think the aircraft will be released first and the pilots ( guilty or innocent) will go free eventually if enough money changes hands. The mules, I imagine, will stay behind bars unless the spill their guts and cut a deal for a shorter prison stay.

It’s a legal rat’s nest anyway you look at it. If the pilots spend a lengthy time in jail, their chances of going free will lessen with each day.
 

Ecoman1949

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Knowing that there is cargo, and the weight and number of parcels is one thing, and knowing the contents of the cargo is another. It's not mandatory to explain the exact nature of the cargo, just that it's not volatile, is it a solid or liquid, for shifting, and other basics. If the flight crew is not involved there is no way that the smugglers would disclose that the cargo was drugs.
Your right. I do wonder about the stupidity of the mules attempting to move a shipment this large on a private aircraft and routing through Punta Cana. Private aircraft may be subject to closer enforcement scrutiny than large commercial aircraft at certain airports.

Even if the drug packages were hidden in suitcase type luggage, it would take a very large number of standard sized 50 pounds total weight suitcases to hide this load. Too many unknowns here to say exactly what was going on.
 

zoomzx11

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If the pilots reported the drugs, I don't see how they will have a problem(?). The pilots and the passengers could all be in preventative custody for quite a while though as it is being investigated.T
New York Times has it as aircraft crew members found the drugs and reported it immediately.
Makes one understand why many Dominicans will never call the cops unless its a last resort.
Kudos to the photographer for the great picture of the plane with all the dope lined up on the tarmac.
 

MariaRubia

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Jun 25, 2019
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You can't help feeling sorry for the air crew, if you can believe that they really didn't know, it would be a horrible situation for them. But clearly someone who works for that airline knows something, someone would have been waiting to remove 200kg of cocaine from that plane when it landed and someone put it there.

The DNCD has had a busy time recently. It almost appears that the government is really seriously trying to stop the drugs trade and not just doing some publicity busts whilst the serious quantities keep moving.
 
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