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Venezuelan Armed Force detains alleged drug trafficking plane in the state of Falc?n

As part drug fighting Operation Jirajara, on Thursday the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB) detained an airplane in the state of Falcón that entered Venezuelan airspace without identifying itself.

Rear Admiral Rommel Fernández Monsalve, Commander of the Punto Fijo Military Bunker, announced that a Cessna plane with no identification marks was detected by radar of the Air Defense Headquarters of Mauroa municipality in Zulia.

He explained that in not identifying itself to authorities, the airplane was intercepted by Tucano jets from the Bolivarian Air Force.

The Cessna landed in the municipality of Buchivacoa, where its two occupants were detained and handed over to the Corps for Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations (Cicpc).

Authorities believe the plane is linked to drug trafficking because it had no identification and landed in an airstrip presumed to be use by criminals.

A month ago a different airplane was found crashed, with its two occupants dead, close to the area.

This area, near the town of Borojó, is known for its wide plains.  It has an area of 10 kilometers by 5 kilometers that is completely flat, which can effectively serve as a natural airstrip that cannot be destroyed, the Rear Admiral explained.

Operation Jirajara is taking place in this area.  It uses intelligence reports, as well as foot and helicopter patrols to scan for tire tracks that may have been made by landing airplanes.

Fernández indicated that thanks to the Executive branch, Falcón has two radar defense systems, one on Mene Mauroa, which detected the airplane, and another in Montecano on the Paraguaná Peninsula.

“We are using every resource in the fight against drugs, debunking the great lie from the United States that claims we are not collaborating or are turning a blind eye [to this crime],” he stressed.

“Venezuela is not a [drug] producing country, nor are we remotely close to drug consumers like the United States or Europe, but we do serve as a link, which we are constantly fighting to reduce until we completely eradicate it,” Fernández noted.

The Rear Admiral also said that the investigation into the airplane will continue on Friday.

Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / March 13, 2009

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