Crew, Passengers On Cocaine Plane Get Bail


Four crew members and six passengers from a Canadian charter company’s CRJ 100 have been released on bail but ordered to remain in the Dominican Republic while the discovery of about $25 million worth of cocaine on their aircraft is investigated by local authorities. As we reported earlier, the crew of the Pivot Airlines aircraft actually reported the 450 pounds of cocaine that was stashed in the avionics bay of the regional airliner to both Dominican and Canadian authorities. At that point, all 10, including the four Canadian crew, four Canadian passengers, a Dominican and an Indian national became suspects and were jailed.

On Friday, all 10 were released after putting up about $18,000 each in bail. The cocaine was found in a bag in the avionics bay on March 31 and the passengers and crew were held with the general population of detainees in several Dominican jails. The airline said they were threatened and now face a lengthy form of house arrest in the Caribbean country. “It is unacceptable that a Canadian aircrew could remain detained for the duration of a potential twelve-month investigation for a suspected crime that they reported,” the airline said in a statement. “We are deeply concerned for the safety, security and ethical and humane treatment of our crew.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Can’t really fault Dominican law enforcement for considering all involved to be suspects until the investigation gets going. After all, I suspect they, like LEOs everywhere, have encountered wide-eyed “Officer, I have no clue… NO CLUE… how that stuff got in there…” con frecuencia.

    • I suspect, like LEO’s everywhere, they play the “I smuell me some maryjuahhna” game too.

      The crew reported the find. They now know that that was a mistake and will never make that same mistake again.

      • Passengers wouldn’t normally have access to the avionics bay, certainly not to surreptitiously hide and then retrieve 500 pounds of illicit cargo. Quite likely one of the crew was in on the smuggle, even if all four were not.

  2. The folks that did it and probably owned it were way too smart to be physically present during the transport. They are looking at the wrong people.