Illegal plane frequented area; communication equipment aboard being analysed

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 September 2016, 2:31 by Denis Chabrol

Police and soldiers inspecting the illegal Cessna plane that was found at Yupukari, Rupununi.

Police and soldiers inspecting the illegal Cessna plane that was found at Yupukari, Rupununi.

Guyanese authorities say the illegal aircraft that was found  at Yupukari, Rupununi Region last week had been frequenting the area and that communication equipment found aboard is being analysed.

“During a search of the aircraft, several pieces of communication equipment were discovered. These have been secured to be further examined for any potential leads,” the Ministry of the Presidency said in a statement.

The Ministry of the Presidency did not say specifically whether any traces of drugs or illegal weapons were found aboard the twin-engine Cessna plane.

However, law enforcement agents were able to ascertain that the plane had been often seen in that region and motorcycles could have been heard late at night. “The Police and Army are speaking with nearby residents in the hopes of turning up leads in the case and this has resulted in a number of them sharing information they deemed as ‘suspicious activity’, such as the presence of motorcycles frequently at midnight in the area. They also reported that the abandoned aircraft has previously been sighted circling the area on numerous occasions in the past,” the government said in a statement.

Agents of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) including its Head, James Singh, have already visited the plane that was found hidden under a canopy of vegetation just off a makeshift airstrip. “The CANU team is seeking to determine whether the aircraft may have any links to the narcotics trade.”

Officials of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) have also ventured into the area to further assess the aircraft for damages and capabilities in order to make recommendations on what should be done with it. Additionally,

Authorities said that the plane, which was draped in a camouflage cover, had been awaiting repairs when a patrol discovered it.

The plane, bearing registration number N767Z, was first brought to the attention of officials on Tuesday by a resident of the area.  The following day, Wednesday, September 14, a Joint Army and Police team, inclusive of CANU, were dispatched to the location to conduct a full investigation. That registration subsequently turned out to be fake.

Demerara Waves Online News has, however, been informed by usually reliable sources that at least one law enforcement agency had known of the plane’s presence there at least three weeks ago and had been staking out the area for the aviation technicians and other persons to return so that they could have been arrested.