Tuesday, April 8, 2014

These Are Not The Pilots You're Looking For.....

As quickly as they came into custody yesterday, they left.  Yesterday Honduran authorities at Ramon Villeda Morales airport in San Pedro Sula arrested two Americans asserting they were the pilots of the Gulfstream jet allegedly abandoned on April 1 in Roatan.  Temporary held were Luis Felipe Parra, a naturalized US citizen born in Colombia, and US citizen Hector Manuel Guerra.  Guerra is a licensed pilot according to the FAA database, but Parra is not.

Both were released this morning, supposedly at the disposition of the Dirección de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico (DLCN) of the Public Prosecutor's office, but both immediately boarded a flight to Miami and left the country.

Elvis Guzmán, spokesperson for the local Public Prosecutor's office stated that the two were released because all their paperwork was in order.  They had both the proper immigration stamps in their passports and had filed a valid flight plan with permission from the Honduran Civil Aviation Authority to land in Roatan.  In the flight plan they had even requested that the plane be allowed to remain at the airport for two weeks; hence it was never abandoned.  There were no indications the plane had been used to transport drugs.  Therefore there was no crime here and they had to let them go.

Apparently InterAirports, the company that has the concession to run four international airports in Honduras, was the one that complained that the jet might be abandoned.  Either they had no access to the flight plans, which seems unlikely, or they're just incompetent, which is much more likely. 

While responsible for airport security they let millions of dollars in drug money pass through security "undetected", including $7 million in cash carried in 6 suitcases by 4 individuals on a flight from Honduras to Panama.  Panamanian authorities detected the cash and arrested 3 of the 4 individuals traveling with the bags.  Interairports was either complicit in letting the cash leave the country, or more likely, wasn't actually screening luggage since that would have cost them money.

Honduran authorities still have offered no explanation as to why they repeatedly told the press that the pilots they were looking for were Mexican citizens named Erick Emanuel Mejia Montes and Darimel Guerrero Ríos.

Apparently nothing to see here, except incompetence.

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