The career of Adriano Jimenez

Hoy newpaper’s Que Se Dice columnist Claudio Acosta comments on the career of missing pilot Adriano Jimenez. Acosta writes that his career covered drug trafficking, assaults, robbery, fraud, forgery and attempted murder, and regardless, he was in and out of the armed forces, joining the Air Force, the Navy, the Army and the National Investigations Department and was authorized to fly without documents 68 times since 22 May of this year, “obviously thanks to the complicity of employees or officers of the departments linked to aero-navigation in the country”.

Jimenez’s piloting license was suspended in 2006 on grounds of people smuggling. Utilizing a student piloting license from the United States, he filed a flight plan to Bahamas from Santiago before disappearing after having been known to make a stopover in Turks & Caicos.

The president of the National Association of Pilots, Pedro Dominguez de Leon says he does not trust the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (IDAC) commission that was appointed to investigate the case because the commission is made up by departments linked to aero-navigation. He comments on Senator Wilton Guerrero, who denounced the existence of a powerful network, of which Jimenez was a member, that smuggled people, weapons and arms to the United States. The network came to the open with the disappearance of Jimenez and the 11 passengers on board his last known flight out of Santiago International Airport. Acosta comments that very powerful and well-connected people could be involved in the case, beyond the reach of those who investigate the reasons for the tragedy.

Today’s El Dia publishes the news that the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is investigating Jimenez’s career, and had been watching his travels on board Piper Aztec N216D in which he allegedly transported seafood to Caribbean islands, but was suspected of illegal operations.

As reported in El Dia, he carried out his operations without interference until the late Angel Christopher Martinez, in charge of the Department of Aero-navigablity at the IDAC, suspended his flights after detecting several irregularities, including a forged airplane inspection. According to reports, following his suspension, Jimenez is thought to have visited Christopher at his IDAC office and threatened him, accompanied by two Air Force colonels. Two weeks later, Christopher was murdered on 12 July 2006.

El Dia also ties Jimenez to Quirino Ernesto Paulino Castillo, who is on trial in the US for the largest cocaine shipment confiscated in the DR. Adriano Jose Jimenez reportedly gave helicopter flying lessons to a son of Paulino Castillo, utilizing helicopter N4044X that news reports say he purchased with US$35,000 lent to him by a Colonel Diaz Espejo. The helicopter was later confiscated as part of assets tied to Paulino Castillo’s drug trafficking operations.