Some 400 kilograms of cocaine was onboard the foreign plane that crash-landed in the Amerindian community of Orealla along the Corentyne River in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) on Thursday afternoon.
The green and white Beechcraft Bonanza plane carried registration number PT-SRR.
At the time of the crash, there was a storm affecting certain parts of Region Six and also Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice). When the aircraft landed, there were two occupants including the pilot. Both men had Brazilian identifications in their possession.
The men told residents at Orealla after emerging from the aircraft that they were traveling and visiting several areas to do sport fishing and other leisure activity, but had encountered difficulty with the weather condition. They further claimed that they were almost out of fuel and got lost after circling the area for some time.
Meanwhile, the men were subsequently approached by police ranks who questioned them about their presence in the area. They then took the officers to the aircraft, where a search was conducted and a quantity of cocaine was discovered.
In a brief statement Thursday afternoon, the Guyana Police Force said that its ranks discovered the aircraft at about 16:00h with a number of wrapped packages suspected to be cocaine found in its body.
The Joint Services have been dispatched and detectives from the Region were also sent to the location to assist with the investigation.
Additionally, ranks from the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) had also travelled to Orealla to take possession of the illegal substance.
Head of the Custom Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), James Singh, when questioned, related that a team had travelled into the area to conduct and investigation.
While investigations are still ongoing, Singh stated that the cocaine onboard is in excess of 400 kilograms.
He noted too that based on the flight pattern, the aircraft might have been heading to neighbouring Suriname.
Meanwhile, the police said the two suspects who were on the aircraft, Salem Nobrega de Alencar and Isaias Luiz Pereira, according to their IDs, have been arrested.
When contacted, Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, Lt. Col. (Ret’d) Egbert Field, told this publication that since the aircraft is illegally in Guyana and given the nature of the cargo found onboard, the law enforcement agencies have taken control of the probe.
However, he said the GCAA has taken note of the incident.
According to DG Field, the Authority’s role in the ongoing investigation will be to verify the documentation of both the Beechcraft as well as the two occupants.
“The only role we’ll be looking at is checking the documents for the aircraft and maybe correspond them with our colleagues overseas, where the aircraft is registered, to confirm the authenticity of the registration and the documentations with [the suspects],” he explained.
The GCAA Head noted that this process has not started. He added that they are awaiting the police to hand over the relevant documents so that they can start the verification process.
“We will have to request some of the documents from the police which will deal with registration of the aircraft and possibly, the licensing of the persons who were onboard in their home territory,” Field further stated.