The managing director of Aerojet Corporate–the Lyon, France-based executive charter operator caught with 1,500 pounds of cocaine aboard a Falcon 50 in March in the Dominican Republic–has been imprisoned. Pierre Dreyfus and a freelance pilot, Fabrice Alcaud, are now jailed in France, according to Lyon daily newspaper Le Progrès.
Although the recent economic downturn has led to a drop in charter activity among legitimate business travelers, the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s aviation division said he expects an increase in the use of charter aircraft by drug traffickers.
The pilot of the Cessna 402B recip-twin that crashed on takeoff in the Bahamas last year, killing 22-year-old singer and actress Aaliyah, himself and seven others, had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his body. Authorities are investigating how the substances might have affected the pilot at the time of the crash. The 30-year old pilot was sentenced to three years probation on charges of crack cocaine possession 12 days before the crash.
According to published reports supported by on-site witnesses, the Venezuelan National Guard is still holding in custody a Portuguese-registered Citation X seized last October. The anti-drug command reported it found about 880 pounds of cocaine on board the business jet, which reportedly had flown from Mexico and stopped in Caracas for fuel before a planned transatlantic flight to South Africa.
A drug bust last month netted Drug Enforcement Administration officials 141 pounds of cocaine, two handguns, an AK-47, approximately $700,000 in cash, the arrest of seven individuals and three Learjets (one each in Georgia, Texas and New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, reportedly at Signature Flight Support).