Wreck of crashed drug plane yields another kilo of coke

Law officers found one more package of presumed cocaine as they dismantled a small plane Tuesday.

This is the aircraft that crashed in the Río Torres in La Uruca Sunday morning and yielded 172 kilos of cocaine. Now the total is 173, officials said. Some packages are believed to have been swept away by the river current.

Meanwhile, the vice minister of transporte aéreo y maritimo potuario said that the government must exert a more rigorous control over international and local air traffic.

The vice minster is Luis Carlos Araya, and he is among the public officials belatedly suggesting actions to hamper drug transportation. The vice minster was not specific, but local air flights are not now subject to the same kind of inspection that officials conduct for international flights.

The drug-laden plane took off from Tobias Bolaños airport in Pavas. It had been inspected, but the drugs were not
found in a wing tank until after the crash. The copilot died, and the pilot continues to survive despite critical injuries. Investigators said that the drugs may not have been put on the plane until after the routine inspection.

The drug plane was headed to Guatemala.

The origin of the drugs still is not known. Initial speculation was that the substance had come in on a local flight from Quepos, hence the vice minister’s comments.

Some officials have expressed the fear that tightening up controls at public airports will cause smugglers to use private strips that are out of sight of officials. In Honduras, smugglers are landing their crafts on remote highways and in other unanticipated locations.

The anti-drug police said Tuesday that they had confiscated more than $125,000 in various currencies from two men caught trying to leave the county into Nicaragua without passing through police and immigration controls. They are officers of the corporation that owned the wrecked plane.

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