Thursday 7 November 2013

Venezuela’s military shoots down alleged Mexican drug plane

The wreakage
The Government of Venezuela has announced that it has shot down an aircraft with Mexican registration that it claims was being used to traffic drugs.

Venezuela’s President, Nicolás Maduro, said in a broadcast on radio and television that the plane had been shot down “recently” and that this was the 30th aircraft linked to drug trafficking that had been demolished in this manner. Most recently, two planes were shot down in late October.

The aircraft was a twin engine Hawker 400, registration XB MGM which, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), had seen 44 years of service, mainly in Mexico but also in Puerto Rico, the United States, and Canada.

The plane was brought down on Venezuelan territory near the town of Buena Vista del Meta, in the western state of Apure, near the border with Colombia. There is no word on the identity or condition of the pilot or any passengers. There has also been no confirmation of any cargo.

Mexico's Foreign Ministry has asked the Venezuelan authorities via the Mexican embassy in Caracas to clarify the incident, and to confirm that the Mexican plane was shot down by Venezuelan military aircraft. A diplomatic note has been issued “requesting clarification of the facts in strict adherence to international law.”

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

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