Plane carrying over 400kg cocaine crash-lands at Orealla

– CANU suspects aircraft was heading to Suriname
– 2 Brazilians onboard arrested

An aircraft carrying more than 400 kilograms of cocaine crash-landed in the Amerindian community of Orealla, along the Corentyne River in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) on Thursday afternoon.
The green and white Beechcraft Bonanza plane carried registration number PT-SRR.

The cocaine-laden beechcraft that crash-landed in Orealla on Thursday afternoon

Guyana Times understands that the aircraft landed on a road between Orealla and its sister village Siparuta, which is five miles away, at about 14:00h.
At the time of the crash, a storm was affecting certain parts of Region Six and also Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice). When the aircraft landed, there were two occupants inside, including the pilot. Both men had Brazilian identification documents in their possession.
The men told residents at Orealla, after emerging from the aircraft, that they were travelling and visiting several areas to do sport fishing and other leisure activities, but had encountered difficulty with the weather. They further claimed that they were almost out of fuel, and got lost after circling the area for some time.
Meanwhile, the men were subsequently approached by Police ranks, who questioned them about their presence in the area. They then took the officers to the aircraft, where a search was conducted and a quantity of cocaine was discovered.

The parcels of cocaine found in the aircraft

In a brief statement on Thursday afternoon, the Guyana Police Force said its ranks discovered the aircraft at about 16:00h with a number of wrapped packages suspected to be cocaine found in its body.
Joint Services personnel have been dispatched to the area, and detectives from Region 6 were also sent to the location to assist with the investigation. Additionally, ranks from the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) have also travelled to Orealla to take possession of the illegal substance.
Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), James Singh, when questioned, related that a team had travelled into the area to conduct an investigation. Up to press time, the actual weight of the cocaine was not known, but Singh had stated that it is in excess of 400 kilogrammes.
He noted that, based on the flight pattern, the aircraft might have been heading to neighbouring Suriname. Nevertheless, he stated that the CANU are continuing their investigations.
Meanwhile, the Police have said the two suspects who were on the aircraft, Salem Nobrega de Alencar and Isaias Luiz Pereira, according to their IDs, have been arrested.
When contacted, Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, Lt. Col. (Ret’d) Egbert Field, told this newspaper that since the aircraft is illegally in Guyana, and given the nature of the cargo found onboard, the law enforcement agencies have taken control of the probe. However, he said the GCAA has taken note of the incident.
According to DG Field, the GCAA’s role in the ongoing investigation will be to verify the documentation of both the Beechcraft and the two occupants.
“The only role we’ll be looking at is checking the documents for the aircraft, and maybe correspond them with our colleagues overseas, where the aircraft is registered, to confirm the authenticity of the registration and the documentation with [the suspects],” he explained.
The GCAA Head noted that this process has not started. He added that the GCAA are waiting on the Police to hand over the relevant documents, so that they can start the verification process.
“We will have to request some of the documents from the Police, which will deal with registration of the aircraft and possibly the licensing of the persons who were onboard in their home territory,” Field further stated.
Only last September, another Brazilian-registered Beechcraft crash-landed at Issano, Middle Mazaruni River in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) with some 390 kilograms of cocaine. Also, onboard that aircraft was the motionless body of a foreign national who was later identified as 49-year-old Brazilian national Alessandro Eduardo Petravicies.
The completely wrecked plane was discovered on September 14, 2020 at around 12:05h in the vicinity of the 9 Miles Airstrip, where authorities had discovered another aircraft that landed in the country the night before.
The police had said that the first plane, which had three occupants, had no illegal items onboard, nor were any illegal articles found nearby.
It was reported that that plane, a 206 Cessna, was travelling along with the Beechcraft, heading to Suriname. The three occupants, who hailed from Brazil and Venezuela respectively, had told investigators they were forced to land in Guyana after the Beechcraft encountered mechanical problems.