Mustafa Özdemir / DUVAR
A Brazilian court has arrested a Turkish pilot who flew a private jet on which 1.3 cocaine tons of cocaine were seized.
On Aug. 4, the Brazilian police seized 24 suitcases carrying 1.3 tons of cocaine on a Turkish-owned private jet rented by a Spanish national. The jet had four Turkish crew on board and the Spanish passenger.
The police later released three Turkish crew from custody but continued with the interrogation of the chief pilot and the Spanish passenger.
The Brazilian authorities have said they have proof that the 48-year-old chief pilot had prior knowledge about the cocaine on board the jet.
“The analysis we conducted on the plane and relevant places, information and documents which we obtained through research and interrogation all show us that the chief pilot had knowledge of the drug trafficking,” the police chief in Ceará, Alan Robson, told reporters.
A court in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza on July 5 ruled for the imprisonment of the chief pilot and Spanish passenger. The hearing was also attended by a lawyer sent by the Turkish Embassy of Brazil. The court denied the lawyer's demand that the pilot stand trial without arrest.
The Istanbul-based ACM Holding, which owns the private jet, had previously said that the relevant Spanish customer and his suitcases had no connection to the company or flight crew.
The private jet on which cocaine was seized was previously owned by the Turkish government, having been bought during the term of Turkey's eight President Turgut Özal.
The jet, registered under the name of TC-ATA at the time, was also used during the terms of previous presidents Süleyman Demirel and Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
The jet had also carried President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from Dalaman to Istanbul on the night of the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
It was later sold to the Turkish Airlines, and finally to ACM Holding.