Brazil Seizes Turkish Charter Jet in Cocaine Bust

 - August 5, 2021, 12:38 PM

The Brazilian federal police yesterday seized a chartered Turkish-registered Gulfstream IV that was found to be carrying 1,304 kilos of cocaine when attempting to clear customs in the northeastern coastal city of Fortaleza before continuing to Brussels. Police said the 24 suitcases carrying the drugs belonged to a Spanish passenger, who was arrested along with the Turkish captain.

In a police video, the captain repeatedly said “I don’t know” when asked about the luggage’s content. Another three crewmembers, also Turks, were being interrogated, police said, and the aircraft, cellphones, and documents were seized for analysis.

The GIV, registered as TC-GVA to charter operator ACM Airlines, picked up the passenger in Malaga, Spain, stopped in Fortaleza, continued to Riberão Preto in upstate São Paulo, and then returned, according to Turkish news site Gazete Duvar. The publication said that, under prior registration TC-ATA, the Gulfstream carried the prime minister; the current livery is unchanged except for the registration number and the removal of “Türkiye Cumhuriyeti” (“Republic of Turkey”) verbiage.

In a statement, ACM Airlines said “customers and their personal belongings have nothing to do with our company and our flight crew…responsibility for the control of passenger belongings is entirely under the airport authority…our flight crew and aircraft will arrive in Turkey as soon as possible following the completion of the legal process.”