Police Makes Drugs Seizure Onboard TAP Airbus A330neo in Venezuela
Venezuelan police K-9 unit discovered a shipment of drugs at the Simon Bolivar Airport in Venezuela earlier this week. The K-9 unit and its handlers are part of Venezuela’s Regional Anti-Drug Intelligence Unit. During a routine inspection of a TAP Air Portugal cargo flight on Wednesday, 5th May, the discovery was made.
The haul of narcotics was found in the aircraft’s fuselage and comprised 124 bars of cocaine. According to Safe Communities Portugal, a non-profit crime prevention group, the TAP cargo plane wasn’t allowed to take off on Wednesday after the Venezuelan police had discovered ‘an undetermined amount of narcotic substances in the aircraft’s fuselage.’ The Airbus was scheduled to make a flight between Maiquetia (northern Caracas) and Lisbon.
Freighter flights from the Simon Bolivar Airport are part of TAP Air Portugal’s regular services. The authorities intercepted the plane was one of the Portuguese carrier’s 18 Airbus A330 currently in service. The Flight had landed in Caracas on Tuesday before the dogs foiled their plans on Wednesday.
According to Safe Communities Portugal’s statement,
“The local authorities are conducting investigations concerning products of a possible narcotic nature, which will have been found, in the cargo hold, during a mandatory civil aviation security control action under the responsibility of the Bolivarian National Guard.”In previous drug busts, the Venezuelan Government had seized smaller planes, but that may not be the case with the TAP Airbus. According to RadarBox.com, the aircraft involved, CF-TUF, was set to be in the air on Thursday.
So far, there have been no indications of TAP Air Portugal’s crew being complicit in the failed shipment attempt. The Venezuelan authorities believe that an unnamed sergeant of the Bolivarian National Guard who fled when the inspection started might be involved somehow. The inspection was a routine security check. So far, the flight crew and TAP Air Portugal have been fully cooperative with the investigation.