As investigations continue into the crash-landing of a Brazilian-registered four-seater Bonanza Beechcraft at Orealla, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) has confirmed that a total of 453 kilograms of cocaine were found onboard the aircraft.
With a street value of about US$30,000 per kilogram, the estimated cost of the drug is $2.9 billion. The drug along with Brazilian nationals, Salem Nobrega de Alencar and Isaias Luiz Pereira were transported to CANU Headquarters.
Head of CANU, James Singh, told this publication that the two men onboard the vessel are cooperating with investigators. At this point, however, he noted that he cannot divulge much information about the probe.
Nevertheless, the CANU Head reiterated that from all indications and information received thus far, the aircraft was heading to Suriname when it crash-landed at Orealla, some 50 miles up the Berbice River. He added that the unit is in discussions with their counterparts in both Brazil from where the plane originated and Suriname where it was heading.
On the other hand, the Police stated that in addition to the 453 bricks of cocaine which weighed one kilogram each, two Global Positioning Systems, one radio set, three smartphones, two identification cards and the registration documents for the aircraft were found at the crash site.
The Police stated that at about 15:00h on Thursday, Police ranks from the Region Six Police Division received reports that a foreign registered aircraft had landed on a sand trail at Orealla Village, Corentyne, Berbice River.
At the time, two Brazilians were onboard and were subsequently arrested following the discovery of the huge amount of cocaine. As such, ranks of the Police Force’s SWAT Team, the Guyana Defence Force and the CANU were mobilised and dispatched to the scene from Camp Ayanganna via the GDF’s Bell 412 helicopter.
Initially, this publication was told that after the aircraft with registration number PT-SRR landed, the foreign nationals allegedly told residents that they were travelling and visiting several areas to do sport fishing and other leisure activities, but had encountered difficulty with the weather. In addition, they claimed that the aircraft ran out of fuel, and got lost after circling the area for some time.
Shortly after the discovery, Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, Lt Col (Ret’d) Egbert Field explained tha GCAA’s role in the ongoing investigation will be to verify the documentation of both the Beechcraft and the two occupants.
Only last September, another Brazilian-registered Beechcraft crash-landed at Issano, Middle Mazaruni River in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) with some 390 kilograms of cocaine. Also onboard that aircraft was the motionless body of a foreign national who was later identified as 49-year-old Brazilian national Alessandro Eduardo Petravicies.
The completely wrecked plane was discovered on September 14, 2020, in the vicinity of the Nine Miles Airstrip, where authorities had discovered another aircraft that landed in the country the night before.
The Police had said that the first plane, which had three occupants, had no illegal items onboard, nor were any illegal articles found nearby. It was reported that that plane, a 206 Cessna, was travelling along with the Beechcraft, heading to Suriname.