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Canadian pilots jailed in Dominican Republic after reporting huge cocaine stash on plane

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A Canadian charter airline says its pilots and flight attendants are being imprisoned in dangerous, inhumane conditions in the Dominican Republic after reporting to police what turned out to be 200 kilograms of cocaine stashed inside their plane. The aircraft – a Bombardier regional jet that until two years ago was f lying under the Air Canada Express banner – is being held at Punta Cana airport after the discovery of the drugs late last week. Pivot Airlines said its crew found the contraband in… (www.msn.com) More...

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shenghaohan
Shenghao Han 17
That is kind of disturbing, imagine you going through your day, finished work on a flight and about to go to the hotel for some rest, expecting to operate a flight back in few hours...

Pilots, as far as I know, don't go open every hatch or access panel on the plane during a walk-around. How would they know someone had stashed contrabands in them...
Lets not get into how would flight attendants involved.

To me, it would be understandable if the contraband is found in crew area/cabin
strickerje
strickerje 4
Yeah, my first reaction was "why would you risk running drugs through places like this?", but from the details in the article, it seems likely it was done without the crew's knowledge. This reminds me of a time I had to travel to our company's office in Canada for the day in a rental car since my car was in the shop. As the rental was being searched at the border returning to the U.S., it occurred to be I have no idea what could be stashed in this car from the last renter. And what would I do, claim it isn't mine? That's quite literally what they all say.

As an aside, I'd never heard of Pivot, but they appear to be the remnants of Georgian, which went bankrupt after Air Canada terminated their contract for regional service?
mutrock
Mark Kortum 5
"Something is rotten in Denmark."
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 2
Agreed.
flybd5juan
Juan Jimenez 5
There is an easy way to deal with this. Jail a few of the Dominican Repukeblic staff in Canada and send them an email: "Your move, pendejos."
chiefaviator
darrin edwards -1
Actually Canada has been doing that to aircraft and crews from other countries.

So it seems Canada set the precedence.
lwmorgan
Larry Morgan 2
I hope this makes it to the TV series "To catch a smuggler".
greatwildblueyonder
A lot of speculation in these comments. If in fact, the crew advised the police there ought to be records of the report along with time, date, names. Does the RCMP confirm the reports or not. If they do, then one must assume the DR is lying. If they can't confirm then the crew is lying. news articles rarely contain true facts so we will have to wait to see what happens. Many crazy, irrelevant comments but covid has done brain damage.
jbaugh3
john baugh 3
The DR has abject poverty and one of the poorest plaes in the westeern hemisphere. Why else would you go there?
Jeraboam
Jeraboam 5
Also the home/vacation residences of a large number of super wealthy athletes, entertainers and corporate leaders who flight first class or private jets to their opulent gated communities.
Viperguy46
Jesse Carroll 1
Been there twice and never left the resort we stayed in! Why go there you ask? Only reason for me is it has the best Blue Marlin fishery during the spring than anywhere else!
stevebinch
Steve Binch 1
To those that keep repeating that the flight was empty, this article names all 10 people who were arrested, included the 6 passengers. https://elnacional.com.do/incautan-avion-se-llevaba-209-kilos-cocaina/
KBrandt
Kerry Brandt 1
Extremely disturbing, to say the least. But an interesting fact that may or may not be relevant is that one of the pilots was recently involved in the longest-running, and serious, domestic abuse cases in Canada. His brother was convicted, while he and his mother were not. His brother's wife, the victim, who was seriously injured over time, is now living in the U.S. with full custody of their child. Possibly entirely coincidental, but one can imagine how the legal bill for that case could affect the thinking and motivation of the pilot. Even if one crew member is complicit, though, the fate of the others is no less disturbing and something to consider when flying to such destinations. I'd say 'know who you're flying with', but we sometimes have little control over that.
kevinkeswick
Kevin Keswick -2
This is a curious story indeed! Why did this CRJ200 fly from Toronto to Punta Cana? I doubt very much that it was to pickup Canadian tourists and return them to Toronto! Would you want to spend over 4 hours on a CRJ 200? It was not a cargo plane in the legal sense of the word so what exactly was it's mission? From these media accounts it seems it was flying "empty" back and forth between Toronto and the Caribbean!

I notice from Flightaware other recent flights were between Toronto and tourist destinations in the Caribbean. Again what were they flying back and forth between the Caribbean and Toronto? It wasn't tourists! It wasn't cargo (at least not the legal kind).

According to the report they did have a contract to fly mine workers to Suriname - a country that is a major Cocaine transport point. Sounds like a cover story.

According to the airline it's diligent pilot's and mechanic discovered the drugs inside control departments as they were about to fly their empty all-white non-descript CRJ 200 back to Toronto - yeah right.

DR officials say that their agents discovered the drugs.

Speaking as a Canadian I believe the DR officials over the officials of this Canadian airline that appears to have been in dire financial straights after Air Canada cancelled it's regional jet contracts.
mbrews
mbrews 13
In the main article are listed many winter trips this bird made from chilly Toronto to sun-filled Caribbean towns. That’s normal commercial activity ; nothing suspicious. So hold the sleuthing for now.

Having said that, there have been many cases of ground crews smuggling drugs in baggage or aircraft compartments.

I experienced it first hand as passenger on an international flight . After a flight from Madrid to Philadelphia, US customs kept all people on the plane at the Philadelphia gate. Until they secured the cargo compartments, suspecting contraband tucked away in the hold.
kevinkeswick
Kevin Keswick 0
The report says they did some intra-Caribbean flights but not vacation flights. Who would want to fly for 4 1/2 hours on a CRJ to vacation in the Caribbean? Apparently this flight flew empty from Toronto to Punta Cana and was about to return with a "crew of 9" and no passengers? This does not ad up.
TorontoJeff
Jeff Phipps 2
"Who would want to fly 41/2 hours on a CRJ..." WTF? I don't exactly have my pick of aircraft any time I fly to destinations if I pick my courier. I don't like flying the crammed in seating plans on Air Canada's 777's either. You pick your destination, price and airline, and get what you get. You're creating a false sense of drama.
btweston
btweston 11
Put down the pipe, my man.
djames225
djames225 10
Please stop with the conspiracy theories.If you are going to spew them, at least get facts straight. It wasn't empty or 11 people inside the aircraft would not have been charged. It also is not a CRJ200, it's a CRJ100ER. And where did you come up with the "dire financial straights after Air Canada cancelled it's regional jet contracts."?????
kevinkeswick
Kevin Keswick -1
The 11 people were "crew members" according to the airline - how many CRJ's fly with 11 crew members and no passengers? This is beyond fishy.
djames225
djames225 8
In your reply to mbrews you stated 9, now you say 11. No it was NOT "9 or 11 crew members and no passengers." There were 4 crew members (2 pilots and 2 flight crew) along with a maintenance person and some others on board.
As for you conspiracy theory about it flying to the Caribbean a great deal, " Earlier this year, it operated scheduled flights under contract to Inter-Caribbean Airlines, which is based in the Turks and Caicos."
kevinkeswick
Kevin Keswick 0
Check out this picture at this link (copy and paste in browser)

https://twitter.com/ElNacionalRD/status/1512166916202414085?s=20&t=wjEeEpL8KW6LXhO20JEERA

So the Canadian crew was about to depart Punta Cana for Toronto in this non-descript all-white CRJ-200 with an empty cabin. They had flown to Punta Cana from Toronto with an empty cabin and were about to return to Toronto with another empty cabin when this "cargo" was discovered in control compartments.

The airline claims the pilots and mechanic found the contraband and contacted the RCMP and local police (LOL)
btweston
btweston 6
You’re kinda making some stuff up there
shenghaohan
Shenghao Han -3
Well the article also identified the plane as: "Mitsubishi CRJ- 100ER" ... not quite correct....
djames225
djames225 6
Actually it is correct since Mitsubishi bought the CRJ lineup. It can be called a Mitsubishi CRJ-100ER, even thou most still refer to them as strictly CRJ's
shenghaohan
Shenghao Han 4
I see, but to me it would still be Bombardier CRJ since Mitsubishi built none.
Just like it makes no sense call MD-88 Boeing MD-88
babaganoosh
mike Renna 0
They are out on bail according to this. And it also talks of '6 passengers', a crew of 5 including a maintenance person, an alberta company chartered the plane for business (in DR?!).

https://nationalpost.com/news/world/dominican-judge-grants-bail-for-canadian-crew-jailed-after-reporting-cocaine-on-airliner
Gouldgh
George Gould -3
DR is one of those countries Trump was talking about.
TimDyck
Tim Dyck 1
DR is a common tourist destination for Canadians
wiregold
wiregold -2
Rush Limbaugh flew to DR with a suitcase full of oxy and viagra some years back. child sex is big business there, no wonder *rump talks about the place.
r6russian
roman fedotov -1
thats what they get for snitching. it was probably the cops who were smuggling the yak in and these loose lips cost them their stash. lucky to not be killed in a dark alley somewhere

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