Brazilian police discovered 1.3 tons of cocaine on board a private jet heading to Brussels Airport. Officers, who were tipped off, filmed the moment they asked a passenger to open his suitcase. It was full of cocaine. And there turned out to be even more luggage with white powder on board. It is the first time in Belgian history that cocaine smuggling has been discovered with a private jet.
Aug 6, 2021
A private jet of the Gulfstream IV type flew Monday evening from Malaga, Spain, to Pinto Martins – Fortaleza International airport in Brazil. Brazilian police had been tipped off that the plane would have cocaine on board when it departed for Belgium on Wednesday.
The police action was filmed. The video shows an officer asking one of the passengers to open a suitcase. He tries to change his mind and proposes to open another, smaller suitcase. Then they open the suitcase in question, which turns out to be full of white powder. “What do you think this is, Commander?” they ask the pilot. “I really don’t know,” he replies in English.
65 million euros
A total of 24 suitcases were found to contain fifty packages of cocaine each, good for more than 1.3 tons of cocaine. The street value of the drugs is about 65 million euros.
According to The time confirms the Brazilian police that the private jet had Brussels as its destination. Brazilian media write that a stopover was also planned in Lisbon, in Portugal. The owner of the private jet, the Turkish ACM Air, confirms that his aircraft was chartered on August 4 by a Spanish passenger to fly from Brazil to Brussels Airport. According to well-informed sources, the control of private jets would not always be thorough.
The time learned that the caught Spaniard has a passport that was issued in Belgium. The man would come from the province of Liège. He seems to have been involved in the past with companies in Liège that went bankrupt. The man would not be known here for drug offences.
According to the Brazilian newspaper Globo evidence has shown that the 48-year-old Turkish pilot of the plane was also aware of the drug transport. He too has been arrested.
A first for Belgium
“This is a first for Belgium”, Marc Vancoillie of the Serious and Organized Crime directorate of the federal police told The time. “It is the first time such a load of drugs has been discovered on board a private jet. That has never happened before in our country, nor on a flight with a private jet that was en route to our country.” Also inquiries with the public prosecutor’s offices of Halle-Vilvoorde, competent for Brussels Airport, and Antwerp learns that there are no drug files with private jets.
“But we’re not completely out of the blue,” says Vancoillie. “We have already taken this risk into account. Criminal organizations are inventive. When so many catches happen in the seaports of Antwerp and Rotterdam, they are looking for alternatives.”
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