– pilots still in custody
Police brought in drug and explosive-sniffing dogs to check the private chartered aircraft, which authorities seized last week Monday.
Although no illegal substances were found, the plane remains impounded and two pilots were still in custody up to late last week, a senior police official told Kaieteur News.
The officials said that authorities are still checking to ascertain whether everything regarding the plane’s registration is in order.
Last week, Michael Brassington, who was jailed in the US in 2011 following a luxury jet crash, along with six Venezuelans were detained after the private chartered aircraft with suspected false registration landed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
The aircraft was impounded after landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
Police said Brassington, along with four passengers, was taken into custody after turning up at CID Headquarters, Eve Leary, on their own accord.
Two pilots were subsequently detained after arriving at CID headquarters with ranks from the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU). The passengers, two of whom are attorneys-at-law, and the pilots, are all Venezuelans.
Police said that the private chartered aircraft landed at around 15:20 hrs, two Mondays ago at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
”In keeping with enhanced security postures and intensified collaboration with management of the various Units /Agencies operating at the CJIA, ranks of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit were alerted and conducted a preliminary inspection of the aircraft and discovered certain irregularities, which were promptly reported to higher Headquarters.
“Based on subsequent enquiries made to certain Authorities, it was revealed that the pilots and passengers were invited to Guyana by Mr. Michael Brassington who was at the airport to receive them and the “Handling Permission Form” listed Roraima Airways Inc. as the handling agent for the aircraft.
“Further enquiries revealed that the registration number on the aircraft may be a false one as another aircraft is reportedly carrying the same registration number, and further that the “Data Plate, “which contains vital information about the aircraft, is missing.
“The aircraft has since been detained as the investigation continues.”
Brassington, along with his brother, Paul Brassington, were jailed in the US in September 2011, after a jet from their luxury charter company, Platinum Jet Management LLC, barreled off New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport runway in 2005.
The jet ploughed through a steel perimeter fence and struck two cars as it crossed six lanes of a highway before crashing into a clothing warehouse and bursting into flames.
A total of 14 people, including both pilots, were injured.
A jury found that they put profits ahead of safety in a scheme to overload jets with cheap fuel.
Michael Brassington, the President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Pilot, was portrayed by prosecutors as the architect of a scheme to defraud passengers, charter brokers, the Federal Aviation Administration and others by misrepresenting his company’s compliance with safety regulations.
He was found guilty on the most serious charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft in flight. The jury found him guilty on eight additional charges and cleared him on 12 counts of making false statements.
His younger brother, a former Vice President largely responsible for sales and marketing, was found guilty only of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was acquitted on four other counts.
Michael Brassington was sentenced to two and a half years while his sibling was jailed for 18 months.
The charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft in flight related to Michael Brassington’s concealment of dangerous over-fueling and weight distribution practices that caused the jet’s centre of gravity to exceed its forward weight limit for takeoff, contributing to the Feb. 2, 2005, Teterboro crash, according to National Transportation Safety Board investigators.
Both men apologized to the judge and the victims of the crash, and maintained they never intended to hurt anyone.
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